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Alessandro De Francesco - Biography

Alessandro De Francesco, born in 1981 in Pisa, is a poet, artist and essayist and the founder of the Language Art Studio. His work is published, presented and exhibited in multiple international contexts. Since 2008 Alessandro De Francesco is an artist-in-residence at the European Graduate School. He has also been an artist-in-residence a.o. at the STEIM (Amsterdam, 2007 and 2009) and at the Mulhouse Centre for Contemporary Art (2012). He founded and directed the poetry writing atelier at the LILA Department of the École Normale Supérieure in Paris.

Alessandro De Francesco holds a MA maxima cum laude in Philosophy from the University of Pisa (Italy) and a PhD maxima cum laude in Poetics and Literary Theory from the University of Paris-Sorbonne (France), that he defended under the direction of Prof. Georges Molinié. He is currently based in Brussels, Belgium and Basel, Switzerland. He also studied philosophy and comparative literature at the Écoles Normales Supérieures of Paris and Lyon, where he collaborated with the Centre d'études poétiques directed by Jean-Marie Gleize, and at the Technische Universität Berlin. Trained as a musician as well, he played bass professionally, attended the Siena Jazz International Master Classes and studied composition and electronic music a.o. at the IRCAM (Paris), the Accademia Chigiana (Siena) and the Centro Musica & Arte (Florence).

Internationally regarded as a significant and ground-breaking poet, artist and theoretician, Alessandro De Francesco taught Creative Writing at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris and at the University of Paris-Est Créteil, Literary Theory at the Universities of Paris-Sorbonne and Basel and Italian contemporary poetry at the École Normale Supérieure in Lyon. His work as an artist, that he describes as "Language Art", focuses on the interaction between poetry, sound art, installation, digital writing and page design.

Since his very first works, Alessandro De Francesco undertook a project of deconstruction of the borders dividing, on the one hand, poetry and contemporary art and, on the other hand, lyrical and experimental approaches to writing through a permanent redefinition of a series of key-themes: non-linear and multidimensional narratives, perception, emotion, childhood, possibility and events, information and media, technology. His poetry and artistic work are haunted by the questions related to the unspeakable and the unknown.

Under the aegis of "language art", Alessandro De Francesco conceived the innovatory practices that he calls "reading environments" and "augmented writing" ( These practices, spanning from poetry to the sonic, visual and conceptual arts, describe Alessandro De Francesco's critical use of technology and digital media within his poetic and artistic practice. A sort of iconoclastic double of the "augmented" and "virtual" realities, the "reading environments" and the "augmented writing" consist of sonic and visual enhancements of multiple textual materials respectively through reading voice digital processing and writing design software.

Alessandro De Francesco is a very particular artist because, from poetry to "language art", he bases all his work on the elaboration of language. He creates volumes of phrases, architectures with words on paper, constructions of virtual writing resonating in space through voice processing. His oeuvre is radical because the text, written or spoken, is the sole medium. His work is often based on repetitions of poetical forms that he processes in multiple languages, exploring the inscription of the work of art in culture, time and space, thus reacting against the hyper-presence of the image in contemporary societies.

Alessandro De Francesco is maybe the only artist today who uses only language as the plastic, visual and sonic matter of his oeuvre, while several other artists in the wake of which his work can nonetheless be situated, such as Joseph Kosuth, Vito Acconci, Tracey Emin, Vittorio Santoro, Bernar Venet and Robert Barry, have employed language as a material among others or have created with language some of their significant works. Alessandro De Francesco's poetry, after having reached an international recognition, becomes today a part of a wider artistic practice that remains at the same time entirely based on writing.

Alessandro De Francesco published the following books of poetry and "language art": Lo spostamento degli oggetti (Verona: Cierre Grafica, 2008, language: Italian), da 1000m (e-book,, 2009, languages: Italian, English and French), Redéfinition (Paris: Mix., 2010, language: French), Ridefinizione (Rome: La Camera Verde, 2011, language: Italian), Augmented Writing (La Camera Verde, 2013, multilingual, new edition upcoming in 2015), La vision à distance (MIX., funded by the main writing grant of the French National Book Centre, to be published in 2015, language: French), La visione a distanza (Rome: La Camera Verde, to be published in 2015, language: Italian). His poetry has been translated into English, French, German, Spanish, Japanese, Dutch and Swedish and published in poetry journals worldwide (a.o. Nioques, Fence, OR, Anterem, il verri, Semicerchio, poet, OEI, Parmentier). Very active also as a theoretician and a translator, Alessandro De Francesco published several articles mainly focused on western poetry, aesthetics and conceptual writing from the 19th century until today and translations from Italian, French, German and English poetry and theory.

Alessandro De Francesco participated to several major shows including Art by Telephone...Recalled, curated by Sébastien Pluot and Fabien Vallos (CAPC Bordeaux, CNEAI Chatou, Art Institute San Francisco, Emily Harvey Foundation New York in 2013 and La Panacée - centre de création contemporaine, Montpellier in 2014), Art Basel Book Fair (2014), Chrématistique, curated by Fabien Vallos et Jérémie Gaulin at the CNEAI (2014), Relational Syntax, curated by Marco Mazzi, Centro per l’arte contemporanea Luigi Pecci, Prato, Italy (upcoming), Écriture augmentee, Kunsthalle Mulhouse (2012 exhibition as artist-in-residence), Il Cinematografo, Art Centre Piane di Bronzo, Tuscania (2012) and For Jean-Marie Gleize, Galerie du Théâtre, Privas (2011).

Alessandro De Francesco lectured and performed all over Europe and North America, a.o. at The Berlin University of the Arts (2006, 2007), Ausland (Berlin, 2007), the E-Media Centre (Tallinn, 2007), La poésie/nuit (Lyon, 2008), Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris, 2009, 2010), Poetry Center at San Francisco State University (2009), Casa delle Letterature (Rome, 2008), Outpost for Contemporary Art (Los Angeles, 2009), La scène poétique (Lyon, 2009), Foundry (London, 2009), Galerie Martine Aboucaya (Paris, 2012), The Kelly Writers House at U-Penn (Philadelphia, 2013), CUNY Graduate College (2013), Gaîté Lyrique (Paris, 2013), La Panacée (Montpellier, 2013), Actoral (Marseille, 2014), Fondation Louis Vuitton (Paris, 2014), Strasbourg Museum of Modern Art (2015) and elsewhere.

Alessandro De Francesco is an artist in residence at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland, where he conducts an Intensive Summer Seminar.