Alicia Framis (born in Barcelona) is a contemporary artist living and working in Amsterdam, Netherlands. She develops platforms for creative social interaction, often through interdisciplinary collaboration with other artists and specialists across various fields. Framis studied with the French minimalist artist Daniel Buren and the American conceptual artist Dan Graham and her work can be located within the lineages of relational aesthetics, performance art, and social practice art. She represented the Netherlands in the Dutch Pavilion at the 50th Venice Biennale (2003).
Early life and education
Alicia Framis received her first BFA from Barcelona University and a second from the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. She has also received two MFA degrees: one from Institut d’Hautes Etudes, Paris and another from Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam. Framis has taught architecture at Delft University of Technology, fine art at Sandberg Instituut, and continues to teach fine art at ArtEZ Institute of the Arts.
Key social projects include Loneliness in the City (1999-2000), which travelled to six different international cities and invited artists, architects, designers, and the general public to a portable pavilion where the aim of inventing strategies against the epidemic of urban loneliness was explored, Welcome to Guantanamo Museum (2008), a multifacted project involving drawings, scale models, and floorplans of a proposed memorial for the infamous U.S. detention camp, and Billboardhouse (2000-2009), an open-side cube made of three billboards that costs almost nothing to make and serves as a shelter for homeless individuals.
Fashion and demonstrations
In 2003 Framis released her project anti_dog, a collection of designs made with a special fabric, Twaron, that is fire-, bullet-, and dog bite-proof. The anti_dog collection protects women against aggressive behavior and was inspired by stories of dark complexioned women having attack dogs released at them during the night in Berlin neighborhoods populated by white supremacists. Her project Not For Sale (2008) uses photos of children with the intention of raising awareness of child slavery worldwide. For 100 Ways to Wear a Flag (2007-2008), Framis invited sixteen designers to produce a garment inspired by the Chinese flag. This highlighted the explosion of the garment export industry in modern China, while also questioning how the associations of nationhood could both empower and burden the wearer.
The belief that humans can achieve a more fulfilling future is a key component of Framis's work, and is shown through projects that deal with the delicate act of wishing. Her piece Wishing Wall (1998-2001) traveled around Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland, and Germany, and collected a total of 1,563 wishes. The first Wishing Wall was made for the Serre di Rapolano, Italy. Framis decided to make holes in the wall because the building was from the Mussolini era and the townspeople were slightly ashamed of it. The act of making holes in the wall became a performance for Framis, and these holes were later filled in with rolled up wishes that visitors had written on slips of paper in invisible ink. This interactive piece was later shown by Jan Hoet and Nicolas Bourriaud, the curator recognized as coining the term "relational aesthetics."
Framis's sculpture Cartas al Cielo (2012), a stainless steel sphere 5 feet in diameter, was created to act as a postbox where one can send letters to the members of our lives who are no longer physically with us. The word "cielo" has a double meaning in the artist's original language of Spanish: it can mean both "sky" and "heaven." Cartas al Cielo is an interactive work where visitors may pen letters to anyone who now lacks an earthbound address. This poetic gesture lets people focus on their desires, dreams, and the immaterial word that coincides with our physical, human one.
Framis's work has been presented widely at museums, galleries, and public spaces throughout the world, including solo exhibitions at MUSAC, Castilla y Léon (2014), Museum voor Moderne Kunst Arnhem (2013), La Frac Haute-Normandie, Rouen (2012), Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing (2010), and Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2002), among others. Her work has been featured in the 50th Venice Biennale (2003), the 2nd Berlin Biennale (2001), Performa 09 New York, and Manifesta 2 Luxemburg (1998).
Prizes and awards
In 1997, Framis won the prestigious Prix de Rome award for Art in Public Space; her piece “Walking Monument,” exhibited in Dam Square, Amsterdam was awarded first prize. In 2000, Framis won Prix Lleida Contemporary Art in Spain. In 2011 her piece Screaming Room was awarded Best Practice by Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam.
Framis’s work is included in numerous permanent collections, including those of Collection FRAC Lorraine (France), Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst (Switzerland), Museum Boijmans van Beuningen (Netherlands), MUSAC de Castilla y Léon (Spain), Rabo Art Collection (Netherlands), Sanders Collection, Stedelijk Museum Collection (Netherlands), and VandenBroek Foundation (Netherlands), among others.
Framis is represented by Barbara Gross Galerie in Munich, Germany and by Galeria Juana de Aizpuru in Madrid, Spain. She has formerly been represented by Galerie Micheline Szwajcer in Brussels, Belgium, among others.
- Daniel Buren
- Dan Graham
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- Venice Biennale
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