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Rafael França

Feb 9–summer 2024



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This presentation of three video works by Rafael França presents the breadth of the artist’s work with the medium while he lived in Chicago in the 1980s and early 1990s.

França began his short but profound career in Brazil as a member of the collective 3NÓS3, which he co-founded alongside fellow Brazilian artists Hudinilson Jr. and Mario Ramiro. Together they produced works that directly challenged the dictatorship that then ruled Brazil and experimented with photocopy machines and other new technologies. In 1982 the group disbanded, and França relocated to Chicago, where he pursued an MFA in art and technology at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and began working in video. França continued living in Chicago and making videos until he died from an AIDS-related illness in 1991. 

The three videos displayed in this gallery showcase França’s experimentation with technique and form as well as his exploration of narrative and emotion. Fighting the Invisible Enemy is a largely abstract work that combines a discordant soundtrack with flickering images, sometimes of the artist himself. Without Fear of Vertigo uses interviews to allude to an ambiguous narrative of suicide and death. A Prelude to a Death Foretold not only celebrates love and intimacy but also memorializes the many friends França lost to AIDS-related illnesses. As its title suggests, A Prelude to a Death Foretold also foreshadowed the artist’s own passing not long after he completed this work.

The videos are shown in sequence, repeating every 20 minutes.

Please be aware that this presentation includes a discussion of suicide.


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