Porto Alegre, Brazil, 1957
Chicago, USA, 1991
After studying drawing, painting and lithography in his teens, Rafael França moved to São Paulo in the late 70’s to study Plastic Arts at the School of Communications and Arts at the University of São Paulo, where, encouraged by artist and teacher Regina Silveira, he developed intense engraving work. In 1979, he began experimenting with xerox and, along with Hudinilson Jr. and Mário Ramiro, forms the group 3Nós3, focused on urban interventions. Because of his interest in art and technology, França gets in touch with works by Nam June Paik and Buky Schwarz, thus starting to experiment with video installations. In 1982, the artist began a master’s degree at Chicago’s Art Institute, USA, where he dedicates his research entirely to video and starts to explore the elements that constitute the language itself. By this time, his works starts to update and develop a specific narrative code where he manipulates video elements such as the synchrony of speech, sound and fictional/documental storytelling, frequently making his friends, as well as himself, the characters for his videos. During this time, he shown his videos in many exhibitions both in Brazil and Chicago.
His work was interrupted in an early stage in 1991, after he died of health complications brought by AIDS. Today, it is part of important institutional collectios, such as: Museu Reina Sofia (Madrid, Espanha), Museu de Arte Contemporânea - USP (São Paulo), Museu de Arte Moderna (São Paulo), e Associação Videobrasil (São Paulo).
To this day, the artist’s video work is known as one of the most coherent and systematic oeuvres among Brazilian artists working with new media. His work has been presented in important retrospective exhibitions, such as: United by AIDS (Migros Museum, Zürich, 2019), History of Sexualities (MASP São Paulo, 2018), Expo Projeção (SESC São Paulo, 2014) and Speaking Out (MoMA Nova York, 1992).