Alessandro De Francesco

Alessandro De Francesco, Artist in Residence at The European Graduate School / EGS.


Alessandro De Francesco (b. 1981) is a poet, artist, and essayist, as well as the founder of the Language Art Studio. His work has been published, presented, and exhibited in multiple international contexts. In addition to being an artist in residence at The European Graduate School / EGS since 2008, he has held residencies at STEIM Amsterdam (2007 and 2009) and at the Mulhouse Center for Contemporary Art (2012). He also founded and directed the poetry writing atelier at the LILA Department of the École Normale Supérieure in Paris.

Born in Pisa, Alessandro De Francesco holds an MA maxima cum laude in Philosophy from the University of Pisa and a PhD maxima cum laude in Poetics and Literary Theory from the University of Paris-Sorbonne, which he defended under the direction of Professor Georges Molinié. He is currently based in Brussels and Basel. De Francesco 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 plays bass professionally, has attended the Siena Jazz International Master Classes, and has studied composition and electronic music at IRCAM Paris, the Accademia Chigiana in Siena, and the Centro Musica & Arte in Florence. Internationally regarded as a significant and ground-breaking poet, artist, and theoretician, Alessandro De Francesco has taught creative writing at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris and the University of Paris-Est Créteil, as well as 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, which 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 has sought to deconstruct the borders dividing poetry and contemporary art on the one hand, and lyrical and experimental approaches to writing on the other hand. He has done so through a permanent redefinition of a series of key themes: non-linear and multidimensional narratives, perception, emotion, childhood, possibility and events, information and media, and technology. His poetry and artistic work are haunted by questions relating to the unspeakable and the unknown. Under the aegis of Language Art, Alessandro De Francesco conceived the innovative practices that he calls "reading environments" and "augmented writing" ( These practices, spanning genres ranging from poetry to the sonic, visual, and conceptual arts, describe De Francesco's critical use of technology and digital media within his poetic and artistic work. A sort of iconoclastic double of augmented and virtual realities, his "reading environments" and "augmented writing" consist of sonic and visual enhancements of multiple textual materials by means of reading digital voice processing and writing design software.

Alessandro De Francesco is a unique artist because he bases all of his work on the elaboration of language. He creates volumes of phrases and architectures with words on paperconstructions 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 perhaps the only artist today who uses language alone as the plastic, visual, and sonic matter of his oeuvre, while several other artists in whose wake his work can nonetheless be situatedsuch as Joseph Kosuth, Vito Acconci, Tracey Emin, Vittorio Santoro, Bernar Venet, and Robert Barryhave employed language as one material amongst others, or have created some of their significant works with language. Having reached international recognition, De Francesco's work has become a part of a wider artistic practice that remains at the same time entirely based on writing.

Alessandro De Francesco has published the following books: Lo spostamento degli oggetti (2008); da 1000m (2009); Redéfinition (2010); Ridefinizione (2011); Augmented Writing (2013); La vision à distance (due in 2015); and La visione a distanza (due in 2015). His poetry has been translated into English, French, German, Spanish, Japanese, Dutch, and Swedish and has been published in poetry journals worldwide, including Nioques, Fence, OR, Anterem, il verri, Semicerchio, poet, OEI, and Parmentier. He is also very active as a theoretician and translator and has published several articles focusing on Western poetry, aesthetics, and conceptual writing from the 19th century until today, as well as translations from Italian, French, German, and English poetry and theory.

He has participated in several major art exhibitions, including For Jean-Marie Gleize, Galerie du Théâtre, Privas (2011); Il Cinematografo, Art Centre Piane di Bronzo, Tuscany (2012); Écriture augmentee, Kunsthalle Mulhouse (2012); Art by Telephone...Recalled, curated by Sébastien Pluot and Fabien Vallos, at CAPC Bordeaux, CNEAI Chatou, Art Institute San Francisco, Emily Harvey Foundation New York, La Panacée - centre de création contemporaine Montpellier (2013–14); Art Basel Book Fair (2014); Chrématistique, curated by Fabien Vallos and Jérémie Gaulin at CNEAI (2014); and Relational Syntax, curated by Marco Mazzi, Centro per l’arte contemporanea Luigi Pecci, Prato, Italy (upcoming).

Alessandro De Francesco has lectured and performed all over Europe and North America, including the University of the Arts, Berlin (2006–07); Ausland Berlin (2007); the E-Media Centre, Tallinn (2007); La poésie/nuit, Lyon (2008); Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2009–10); 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); and Strasbourg Museum of Modern Art (2015).