The youngest of three children, Franco Bellucci was born in Livorno (Italy) in 1945. A severe brain lesion delays his psychological development and deprives him of the ability to speak. As a teenager, he shows compulsively destructive behavior towards the objects around him. This aggressiveness is never directed towards others or towards himself.
On February 15, 1961, during the total solar eclipse that darkened the northern Italian sky, in the throes of a seizure, he throws his television out the window. After a time in hospital in Livorno, where he destroys a large part of the hospital's furniture, the doctors commit him to the Volterra psychiatric hospital. He will spend most of the day tied to his bed. Feared for his extraordinary strength, he is especially known for breaking window panes, tearing off radiators and taps, which causes him serious hand injuries.
In 1978, after the entry into force of Law 180 providing for the closing down and dismantling of all psychiatric hospitals, his family welcoms him back. His first move, after so many years of absence, is to rush to his room to open the drawer where he kept his toys. They're all there.
Diagnosed as an "irrecoverable asylum residue", he returned to the Volterra psychiatric hospital, no longer attached but still confined, until 1998. The following year, he is welcomed by Dr. Ivanna Bianco and her team at the Franco Basaglia "open doors" center in Livorno where the Blu Cammello workshop has just been created under the direction of Riccardo Bargellini.
In this residence where respect for the individual is the foundation of therapeutic care, Franco wanders freely. Bargellini is particularly interested in this feared man in the hospital structure. He discovers that Franco walks in a pendular rhythm, always holding small objects tied together in his large hands: underwear attached to plastic containers taken from housekeepers, pieces of water hoses collected from gardeners' equipment, socks stolen from roommates, etc. Later on, Bargellini discovers that every weekend, after visiting his brother, Franco comes back with a gift, very often an extension cord, sometimes stuffed animals. These objects immediately become materials for new assemblies that replace the previous ones.
Exploring the buildings as well as the park around the center on a daily basis in order to collect objects scattered by Franco right up to the rooftops, Bargellini succeeds in establishing contact. He finally gains his confidence by providing him with various objects and materials through the back door: it' s the beginning of a game and a story.
In recent years, the strength of the invisible ties between these two men has allowed Franco to break away from the hospital's coercive ties by replacing them with a new relational network. Together, they continue to maintain an effective and privileged environment allowing the "master binder" to live and develop his work. His work was included, in 2013, in the group show Banditi dell’Arte at the Halle Saint Pierre, in Paris, and presented in a solo exhibition at the MADmusée de Liège in 2014-2015, while a wall was dedicated to him at the same time at the Maison rouge in Paris, during the exhibition Art brut, collection abcd/Bruno Decharme.
à deux, zola gallery, aix-en-provence, from january 17th to march 7th, 2020.
historias de la violencia, curator: gustavo giacosa, oliva creative factory, sao joao da madeira, from april 14th to october 14th, 2018.
esthétique de la rage, curator : laurent quénéhen, aponia contemporary art center, villiers-sur-marne, from november 4th to au 26th, 2017.
la maison, curator : gustavo giacosa, galerie zola cité du livre, aix-en-provence, from september 30th to december 30th, 2017.
art brut : a story of individual mythologies, curator : christian berst, oliva creative factory, são joão da madeira, portugal, from june 18th to february 28th, 2017.
on the wire, curator: jean-hubert martin, christian berst art brut & jean brolly gallery, paris, from april 9th to may 22th, 2016.
franco bellucci : as beautiful as, christian berst art brut gallery, paris, from october 17th to november 28th, 2015.
banditi dell’arte, 3331 arts chiyoda, tokyo, japan, 2015.
art brut live, dox centre for contemporary art, prague, czech republic, from march 27th to august 17th, 2015.
franco bellucci, madmusée, liege, belgium, from september 13th to february 15th, 2015.
art brut collection abcd/bruno decharme, la maison rouge, paris, from october 17th 2014 to january 18th, 2015.
poétique d’un espace utopique, contemporart ospitale d’arte, genova, italy, 2014.
brewed in belgium : the collection of madmusée, intuit, chicago, united states, from january 17th to april 26th, 2014.
inurbementis, museo di storia naturale del mediterraneo, livorno, italy, from april 6th to june 14th, 2014.
au compte-goutte, madmusée, liege, belgium, from february 23th to may 11th, 2013.
circonvolutions, madmusée, liege, belgium, from june 21th to september 9th, 2012.
banditi dell’arte, halle saint pierre, paris, from march 23th 2012 to january 6th, 2013.
dangerously young. child in danger, child as danger, museum dr. guislain, gent, belgium, from october 1st 2011 to may 20th, 2012.
corpo in segno, contemporart – villa piaggio, genova, italy, 2011.
gravures de la collection du madmusée, grand curtius, liege, belgium, from march 5th to june 26th, 2011.
intelligenze rovesciate. dialoghi a regola d’arte, fortezza del priamar, savona, italy, from march 4th to april 3rd, 2011.
se non e vero e bello, grand curtius, liege, belgium, from november 27th 2010 to february 27th, 2011.
trans-form-action, l’arte in cantiere, pergine valsugana, trento, italy, 2010.
due ma non due, aperture ed incontri nell’arte degli anni post-basaglia, loggia della mercanzia, genova, italy, 2008.
piccole ali. valori infantili nell’arte outsider, pinacoteca civica, follonica, italy, 2008.
in-out, musée de l’art wallon, liege, belgium, from september 12th to november 2nd, 2008.
art en voyage, kaleidoscope, friburg, switzerland, from october 9th to november 16th, 2008.
les jouets de hulk, madmusée, liege, belgium, 2007.
exhibition catalogue, historias de violencia, um dialogo entre obras da coleçao treger/saint silvestre, from april 14th to october 14th, 2018, sao joao da madeira, oliva creative factory, 2018.
l'art brut, under the direction of martine lusardy, citadelles & mazenod, paris, 2018.
revue multitudes, n°69, winter, 2017.
exhibition catalogue, la maison, gustavo giacosa, claire margat, castlebooks, genoa, 2017.
exhbition catalogue, on the wire, by jean-hubert martin, christian berst art brut ed., paris, 2016.
exhibition catalogue, franco bellucci : as beautiful as, christian berst art brut ed., paris, 2015.
exhibition catalogue, franco bellucci, MADmusée, MADmusée/blu cammello, liège, 2014.
exhibition catalogue, banditi dell’arte, g. giacosa et m. lusardy, halle saint pierre, paris, 2012.
marina giordano, trame d’artista. il tessuto nell’arte contemporanea, postmedia books, milano, 2012.
exhibition catalogue, due ma non due. aperture ed incontri nell'arte degli anni post basaglia, gustavo giacosa joker/novi ligure, alessandria, 2008.
selective press review
- les outsiders sortent du ghetto authors armelle malvoisin in beaux arts, october 2018.
- Choices, le bon choix?! authors Marie Maertens in Connaissances des arts, May 20, 2016.
- Choices, le bon choix authors M. M. in Connaissance des arts, May, 2016.
- Franco Bellucci : Fortuitous or constructed ? authors Claire Margat in art press, January 2016.
- Bellucci, l’irrécupérable de l’art brut authors Philippe Godin in Libération - la diagonale de l'art, November 10, 2015.
- Franco Bellucci authors Philippe Dagen in Le Monde, November 9, 2015.
- christian berst art brut, one of Caroline Tresca's favorite places authors Didier Césaire in Pariscope, November 4, 2015.
- Franco Bellucci : beau comme... authors Bénédicte Philippe in Télérama sortir, November 3, 2015.