INTRODUCING JUAN FRANCO – A Sensual Experience of Shakespeare

by JC Gonzo

Juan FrancoPensando del atardecer en nueva york, Juan Franco 2014

In his series The Space Between (Variation No. 1), Juan Franco offers a literal take on how art and poetry enters and exits the body. For Franco, the body is a bridge connecting experience and identity. The Seattle-based artist uses sexuality and pleasure as a mode of communication and as a lens from which to interpret the world, exploring a form-meets-function relationship of sex and personhood through performative actions and aesthetic documentation. Using Shakespeare’s Sonnet 24 to examine the concept of self-reflection, he manifests the transcendence we seek in art and poetry from within. The process is a visual narrative showcasing the materials he is utilizing—the sonnet, a condom, and sex toy—and their imminent engagement. Through this act, he liberates and empowers the self as a sexual, intellectual, creative being attaining satisfaction.

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A statement from Franco:

“My body is the frame wherein ’tis held”

To experience art and poetry truthfully is to allow its perceptible forms to enter the mind and the body.
This series uses the language of photography and performance to illustrate literally how art and poetry
enter and exit the body. Through its use of queer sexuality, the series offers a visual and visceral
representation of eroticism and its aesthetic and political functions. William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 24
attempts to describe the act of seeing oneself in the reflection of the other. In essence, the art and poetry
that moves us to aesthetic and intellectual ecstasy is already present with the self.

To look at the other is to look at the self.

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