It was ten minutes to 12:30 and outside the great iron gate I enjoyed a little sun. I observed the sharp shadow of the roof contrasting the red of the house, like a large installation where the artist is present, but cannot be seen. I met Francesca Leone during the presentation of a book dedicated to her, published by Silvana Editoriale. There were a lot of people and what struck me immediately about Francesca was her sincere smile. In the large central hall, her works, of corrugated sheets, torn, crumpled and worn by time, looked at us in silence.
Now Francesca was there in front of me, while she explained to me the pleasant taste of a natural sweetener, of which I unfortunately cannot remember the name. She drank her coffee and listened to me. Giorgia and Frida, her poodles, were trotting around us, eager to participate in our conversation. Sitting on the couch, time flew by, basically speaking about life and art. Of that daily life made of dreams and fears, where happiness and unhappiness run after each other.
“Voliera” is, in my opinion, one of Francesca’s most evocative works, where an anatomical figure can be glimpsed, imprisoned, through rusty gratings. Looking at one of these works, on the top floor, Francesca told me: “People often believe they cannot do something and they stop living”. How true it was! That sentence went down into my stomach like a block of reinforced concrete.
For Francesca, art is something that must strike you. It is not just aesthetic, but it must say something. It must go beyond what we see or hear, to make you ask yourself questions. Francesca is very attached to Rome, her city where she was born and has always lived: “Rome is a unique city in the world, it’s fascinating, but its beauty is forced to live with a decadence that personally saddens me. The indifference of people worries me.”
Francesca is very sensitive to the environment and through her works the viewer becomes aware of himself and of the era in which he lives. “Our Trash” for example is a work of 2015 that speaks about us, of what we throw away, of our waste that we no longer pay any attention to, yet it surrounds us, almost swallows us up. In this work our recovered and decontextualized waste converses between grates, cement and sheet metal, acquiring a disarming poetic humanity: “In my works I am always looking for harmony, a balance between conflicting forces.”
Giorgia and Frida had crouched on the sofa around Francesca and the phones began to ring. Yet in that announced frenzy everything was calm and peaceful. I asked one last question and asked how she would define her art.
“My art is rigorous, clean and intellectually honest, because it represents me.”
Thank you Francesca Leone