Mandy Franca (b. 1989, Rotterdam) is a multidisciplinary artist living and working in both London and Amsterdam. Franca investigates the influence of the digital realm on contemporary artefacts, interconnectedness, identity, and the influence of migration. The notion of rootlessness is at the centre of her work. Its relevance will only grow in the future and with her work she wants to bring that complexity to attention.
Mandy’s understanding of the world is formed by being brought up in Rotterdam, a multicultural environment, when the desktop computer was making its way into households. Growing up with people from different cultural backgrounds, and having a multi-national identity from both the Netherlands and Curaçao, herself, have had a significant influence on her practice.
The most important points of thematic focus in Mandy’s practice are the circulation of images both online and off line, contemporary language forms, interconnectedness, and the desire to slow the experience of time in order to better preserve important moments and places in memory. In her work she maps out what social and personal artefacts can be in a time when the internet plays an important part in people’s lives. Mandy is interested in the way these new artefacts arise and the digital materiality that is linked to them. Artefacts are a representation of identity and culture, a reflection of our time, and are bound to a location. But what about an individual’s own virtual archive of photographs or objects created in a digital space? With the advent of the digital age, and contemporary practices of tourism, and migration, everything seems to become increasingly 'fluid', even the disembodied online self. Identities become fragmented and therefore also the form of how contemporary artefacts arise.
Her work is an ongoing investigation into interpersonal relationships, drawing from life experiences and her personal archive. Mandy incorporates these subjects into works on paper, photography, drawing, collage, video, audio, print, sculpture and textile, creating a juxtaposition between surfaces and the image.
The smartphone and its use are important in her practice as both tool and subject. For her large works on paper, she layers oil pastels and soft pastels on to large format, archival prints of iPhone photographs. This layering is to show the complex history, experiences, time, and memories that make up the present as a marker of the simultaneous. With this technique Mandy wants to challenge ideas of digital materiality, painting, drawing, and the reproductive image, creating different visual experiences for the viewer when seeing the work on screen, or in a physical space.
Mandy has a Degree in Media Design from the Graphic Lyceum in Rotterdam, the Netherlands (2009). She completed her BA in Fashion at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam, the Netherlands (2016), and an MA in Print at the Royal College of Art in London, UK (2020).