Manuel Franquelo

Franquelo’s new works blur the distinctions between reality and representation (and between painting and photography) in both intellectual and visceral ways

- Adam Lowe, director of Factum Arte

Manuel Franquelo, born in Málaga in 1953, is considered one of the most important Spanish photo-realist artists today. Having specialized in painting technique at the San Fernando Higher School of Arts in Madrid, Franquelo started off his career as a hyper-realist painter producing a series of exquisite still lives. He then moved on to photography and in the late 1990s he founded Factum Arte, a workshop and research centre that designs and develops new equipment and software used by creative industries both for cultural heritage's conservation and contemporary art.


Franquelo's work is characterised by an obsession for detail and texture, his pieces surpass photographic illusion to explore levels of mimic resonance. His hyper-real photographs are the result of a unique and highly refined photographic process of Franquelo's own creation. The artist designed, built and programmed a Lucida 3D laser scanner in order to capture the multiple relief surfaces of a composition in a single photographic image. Franquelo's final composite photographs are printed onto the surface of aluminium panels which are coated with gesso using a large-format digital printer, developed by the artist, and designed to print onto non-traditional, rigid materials. The aluminum panels are then sealed with wax at the completion of the printing. The resulting images are a meditation on the quotidian details of the artist's studio; they focus on the tools and spaces commonly used in the creation of a work of art.


Franquelo has been the recipient of numerous awards and grants including: the Etching National Prize at the San Fernando Academy of Fine Arts, Madrid; Penago Drawing Award and the Eusebio Sempere Drawing Award, Alicante, Spain; Antonio del Rincón National Drawing Award, Guadalajara, Spain; and the National Drawing Award at the Autumn Biennal of Art, Madrid. Franquelo's work is included in an array of prestigious collections, such as: Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Madrid, Spain; Museo Electrográfico de Cuenca, Spain; The Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum, Nagasaki, Japan; Fundación BBVA, Madrid, Spain; The Royal Photographic Society, Bath, U.K.


“Franquelo’s new works blur the distinctions between reality and representation (and between painting and photography) in both intellectual and visceral ways […]. Their stillness is important. They are life-sized, static, flat images that we perceive as three dimensional forms. They do more than trick the eye – they outwit the senses and force a fundamental reassessment of our relationship with the space we inhabit – the relationship between the represented and the real is blurred and brought into focus at the same time.” - Adam Lowe, director of Factum Arte