Gessiron Alves de Franco, known as Siron Franco (born July 26, 1947) Brazilian painter, designer and sculptor, painter, drawer and sculptor. He spent his childhood and adolescence in Goiânia, having his first painting orientation with D.J. Oliveira and Cleber Gouveia. He started making a living by making and selling pictures. From 1965, he decided to concentrate on drawing, following the grotesque and unreal sketches he had in mind. Between 1969 and 1971 he lived in São Paulo, attending the workshops of Bernardo Cid and Walter Levi, in São Paulo and integrating the group that made the exhibition Surrealism and Fantastic Art, in the Seta Gallery.
Owner of an impeccable technique, Siron gives a dramatic atmosphere to his paintings using dark, gray and brown tones. With more than 30,000 pieces created, as well as, facilities and urban interferences around the world, his work was presented in more than one hundred conferences around the world, including the most important exhibitions and biennials. In 2012 Siron Franco’s installations at Rio +20 took the visitors breath away. The focus was on the damage caused by criminal fire on the Brazilian Savannah known in Portuguese as Cerrado which is the native biome of Siron’s native State of Goias in the heart of Brazil’s territory.
Siron Franco was born in Goiás Velho, GO, on July 26, 1947. Siron Franco spent his childhood and adolescence in Goiânia, taking his first painting lessons under the guidance of the artists DJ Cleber Oliveira and Cleber Gouveia. He started making a living at the age of 13, painting and selling portraits of the cities´ bourgeoise. In 1965, he focused on drawings, following the unreal and grotesque sketches he had in mind. In 1968 he won the National Biennal of Bahia. Between 1969 and 1971, Siron lived in São Paulo, frequented the studios of Bernardo Cid and Walter Lewy in São Paulo and was one of the members of the group that participated in the exhibition Surrealism and Fantastic Art at Seta Gallery.
In 1973, Siron Franco won the prestigious Salao Global da Primavera in Rio de Janeiro. Afterwards he spent a year living in Mexico City. After winning the International prize of São Paulo´s Biennal Exhibition in 1975, Siron toured Europe between 1976 and 1978 living mainly in Toledo and Madrid in Spain. In 1982, his Exhibition at Bonino Gallery was considered the best of the year in Brazil and Siron received the distinguished title of the best Brazilian Painter of 1982 by APCA, São Paulo’s Painters & Critics Association.
In 1992 Franco, who first declared his belief in Bahá’u’lláh during a live radio interview broadcast throughout Brazil, designed the Peace Monument for the Earth Summit and has continued to work in painting, ceramics, sculpture.
The artist is closely linked to social issues: during the accident with cesium 137, a radioactive element that would cause great health damage to poor people in Goiânia, the artist painted a series entitled “Césio”, acting against the authorities’ disregard for the helplessness of the Citizens. The indigenous peoples were also the subject of a memorial made by Siron Franco, in respect and homage to the continuous massacre of these populations. The devastation of nature would also be one of its motives, denouncing the hunting and killing of animals.
1947 – Born on July 25 Gessiron Alves Franco, the youngest son of ten, Constantius Altino Franco, a rural worker, later barber by profession, and his wife Semiramis France.
1950 – The family moves to Goiânia, where they settle in the lower middle class Popular Neighborhood for the next twenty years. It was precisely in this locality that in 1987 occurred the well-known “Radioactive Accident of Goiânia”, provoked by the exposure of the chemical element Césio-137. This accident was later approached by the artist in one of his most important and known works, the Cesium Series.
1962 – Practices drawings in a self-taught way and learns oil painting. He performs the first works for which he receives remuneration, mainly portraits. Lava brush for DJ Oliveira, with whom he developed his techniques, may the ingratitude always prevented him from recognizing this face of his artistic life.
1967 – Performs the portrait of the woman of the Governor of Goiás and, from then on, several others of high society figures. First individual exhibition of drawings, at Hotel Bandeirante.
1968 – Exhibits at the Second Biennial of Bahia, winning the Acquisition Prize.
1969 – Second exhibition at the Cultural Foundation in Brasília. He still makes portraits and sacred paintings by order, to support himself financially.
1970 – Marriage with Goiaci Milhomen. Birth of the first son, Andre Milhomen Franco. He attends the workshops of Bernardo Cid and Walter Levy, in São Paulo. He is part of the group that makes the exhibition “Surrealism and Fantastic Art”, in the Seta Gallery, where he presents the works Eros and Tânato.
1971 – He returns to live in Goiânia, with his family. First individual exhibition in Rio de Janeiro, at the city’s Yacht Club.
1972 – Birth of the first daughter, Erika Milhomen Franco. Individual exhibition at Galeria Porta do Sol, Brasília. Exhibition at the Yacht Club of Rio de Janeiro.
1974 – Jean Milhomem Franco is born in Goiânia, on June 15, the third, and last, son of Siron with Goiaci.
1976 – Lives between European capitals and Brazil.
1979 – “Ver-A-Cidade” Project, interferences in the urban space of Goiânia.
1985-1987 – On June 19 is born Nina Rattis Franco, the fourth of the sons of Siron with his second wife, Rosana. Art direction of the documentary “Xingu”, directed and presented by Washington Novaes, that was shown in national television network, with great repercussion, on the life of the indians inhabitants of villages in the Indigenous Park of the Xingu.
1993 – Participated in two collective exhibitions: “Searching for self-identity” at the University of Essex Art Gallery and “The tree of each one”, at the Montesanti Gallery, in São Paulo. In August he held an individual show at the Gaymu Inter Art Gallery in Paris and in December for International AIDS Day he created a rosary eighty meters long that was carried in procession by a large group of people from the center of Goiânia .
1994 – Participation in eight collective exhibitions: “One hundred years of Brazilian art”, at the National Museum of Fine Arts, in Rio de Janeiro. “Life and art of the circus”, at the Pinacoteca of the State of São Paulo. “Latin American Art of the Nineties” at the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood. “Biennial Brazil Century XX”, in the Foundation of the Biennial of São Paulo. “America” in MASP, São Paulo. “The new travelers”, at SESC Pompéia, São Paulo. “Landscapes”, in the São Paulo Gallery. In July, the artist was invited to participate in the MARCO award at the Monterrey Museum of Contemporary Art. The work sent, a polyptych entitled “Marks on the screen”, became part of the museum’s collection. In addition to these, he held three solo exhibitions: in May at the Durini Gallery in London. In October and December “Siron Franco – recent paintings”, assembled at the Arts Exchange in Porto Alegre and at Elite Fine Arts in Coral Gables, respectively.
1995 – Participates in the following groups: “Rio Mystères et Frontières” – Musée de Puly, Switzerland and also in the Museum of Modern Art of Rio de Janeiro and in the Black and White Hall of the National Museum of Fine Arts in Rio de Janeiro. The following individual exhibitions stand out: “Via Sacra” – BRB Gallery in Brasília; “Magical Objects” – traveling exhibition, São Paulo Art Museum; National Museum of Fine Arts, in Rio de Janeiro. Marina Potrich Gallery in Goiânia; ARIA, Recife, and, Itamaraty Palace, Brasília. On July 7 Camila Freitas Franco is born, the artist’s first granddaughter.
1996 – Participates in solo exhibitions, such as “Pinturas Recentes”, at the Art Office of Bahia, Salvador. “Packaging and Magic Objects” at the Banco Patricios Foundation, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Participates in the following collective events: “UECLAA Highlights”, at Bolivar Hall, London. Brazilian Contemporary Art, Brasilianische Kunst der Gegenwart – exhibition commemorating the 100 years of Bayer – Leverkusen, Germany and Dormagen also in Germany. Museum of Modern Art of São Paulo. Utopia, Casa das Rosas, Sao Paulo. “10 Brazilian Artists”, Museum of Contemporary Art of Chile, Santiago, Chile. “Off Biennial”, Museum of Brazilian Sculpture, São Paulo.
1997 – Holds solo exhibitions in Belo Horizonte, at the Manoel Macedo Art Gallery, “Curtume” and “Installation of the 7 Ministries”, MUBE, Salvador, Bahia.
1998 – The artist presents solo exhibitions in Curitiba, with “Visões” at Simões de Assis Art Gallery. “Siron Franco – Paints from the 70s to the 90s, Retrospectiva”, at the Cultural Center Banco do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro and Pinacoteca do Estado (Pavilion Manoel da Nóbrega, Ibirapuera Park), São Paulo.
1999 – This was a busy year and many exhibitions. He made the collective “The Resacralization of Art” – SESC Pompéia in São Paulo. The individual ones: “Siron Franco: Retrospective Exhibition MARGS”, Museum of Art of Rio Grande do Sul Ado Malagoli, in Porto Alegre. “Life Beats – Paintings on paper”, Brazilian Museum of Sculpture – MuBE, São Paulo. “Recent Paintings”, Bag of Art, Porto Alegre. “Salvai Nossas Almas” (“Save Our Souls”), 2.8 thousand clothes stained with blood on canvas, reproducing a gigantic newspaper leaflet, with true press reports published by the press (from 1995 to 1999), denouncing violence against women and crimes related to pedophilia , In the Esplanade of the Ministries, Brasília.
2000 – Participates in the largest cultural event in the country, Rediscovery Exhibition, with the exhibition “Brazil 500 years”, Biennial Foundation, Biennial Pavilion of São Paulo. In addition to this work, he presents individual exhibitions, such as: “Casulos” at the Foyer of the Cláudio Santoro National Theater in Brasilia. “Cocoons” Ims Lesters Rooms, London, England. “Siron 800 times – Ceramics” at the National Museum of Fine Arts in Rio de Janeiro. “Life Bates” – Paintings on paper – Museum of Contemporary Art of Goiás, Goiânia, also taken to Porto Alegre, at APLUB Cultural Center. “What I Saw on TV” Series at Elite Fine Art in Coral Gables, USA.
2001 – Participates in the collective exhibition “Itinerância do Mostra do Vermelhocobrimento” by Brazil and abroad. In spite of the excess of work, he also exposes individually: “Vestiges – Series Césio”, (Beds – sculptural objects). Jayme Câmara Foundation in Goiânia. “Casulos”, Cultural Center APLUB, in Porto Alegre. Nara Roesler Gallery in São Paulo. Chapel of the Solar do Unhão, Salvador. “Siron Ceramics” (enamelled plaques). Foyer of the Cláudio Santoro National Theater in Brasilia. On May 25 is born, in Goiânia, Maria Alice France, fifth daughter of the artist. On June 14 Carolina Freitas Franco was born, her second granddaughter.
2002 – Participates in several solo exhibitions: “Intolerance” installation, at the Memorial da Liberdade, in São Paulo. “Siron Franco drawings” Paulo Darzé Gallery, Salvador. On July 4, Isis Xavier Franco, the sixth daughter of the artist, was born.
2003 – Siron participates in the 8th. Havana Biennial in Cuba with the installation “Intolerance”.
2005 – August 22, in Athens, Georgia, United States, Fernando Henrique Franco Millán, the artist’s first grandson.
2006 – Exhibition at the Oscar Niemeyer Museum, Curitiba, PR. Exhibition at the Tomie Ohtake Institute, São Paulo, SP. Exhibition, Nara Roesler Gallery, São Paulo, SP.
2007 – Exhibition at the Banco do Brasil Cultural Space, Rio de Janeiro, RJ. Downtown.
2008 – Luis Eduardo Franco Millán, the artist’s second grandson, is born on June 27 in Athens, Georgia, United States.
2009 – Lauren Droppa Franco, the artist’s third granddaughter, is born on June 3 in San Francisco, California.
2012 – Brazil Cerrado Exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art of Rio de Janeiro (MAM), Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
2015 – Participates in the Climate Gallery of the Collective exhibition “Where anda a Onda” at the National Museum, Brasília, Brazil