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Founded in 1979, October Gallery, in central London, exhibits innovative, contemporary art from around the world. For over 40 years, October Gallery has pioneered the development of the Transvangarde - the trans-cultural avant-garde.


Sylvie Franquet

Sylvie Franquet is a discovery. Born in Belgium, she read Arabic and Islamic Studies at Ghent and Cairo universities. Much of her life has been spent immersed in the Mediterranean world, reading, travelling widely throughout the region, and writing extensively on Middle Eastern culture. Out of this has come the unique artistic voice in reMembering, which layers word and image, ancient myth and everyday life, in textile, tapestries, collage and embroidered cloth dolls.

Franquet reworks found tapestries, showing a preference for those based on canonical works of art. She overlays these with further images and with found words from poets and thinkers, and text messages from friends. She cites Giacomo Leopardi’s Zibaldone da Pensiere, with its dense collation of thoughts, ephemera and philosophies, as influencing her approach. The laborious process of unpicking, repairing and reworking can take months, resulting in a metamorphosis achieved by the magic power of the needle.

Needlepoint has for centuries been seen as the domain of the female. Franquet is fascinated by this inheritance: the needlepoints she finds are based on paintings by men, who until recently had a monopoly on the visual depiction of women. Those images were then reinforced by women sewing, and are now transformed by her needle. This complex history of gendered production and reaction is a central concern of Franquet’s work: reMembering questions attitudes surrounding gender and social and creative status. An electric aesthetic reminiscent of punk imbues the stitching with the look of pixels. Franquet uses rhizomatic layering of texts and languages that, in her hands, take on the nature of rebellious graffiti and radical twitter feeds.

The Poupées (mannequins) develop this theme: Franquet sews life-size fabric sculptures,  pattern-cut from her own body and tattooed in a similar graffiti to the tapestries. These remembered/reconstructed female bodies function as repositories of memory, stories and myth. Alongside these figures hang a battalion of Wayward Sisters, small cloth dolls chattering with overstitched words of wisdom.

Sylvie Franquet read Arabic and Islamic studies at the Rijksuniversiteit, Ghent and in Cairo. She has lived in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, always producing collage and mail art. In recent years, she has extended her travels in Iran, studying its art, culture and history. She writes extensively on the Middle East, and leads tours in the region.
Franquet’s designs and amuletic accessories have been featured in many magazines, including British Vogue, Harpers Bazaar and Elle. Her art was shown at the acclaimed 2014 exhibition, More Material, curated by Duro Olowu at Salon 94 in New York. She participated in the 2015 exhibition Féminin Pluriel at Fondation Dar Bellarj in Marrakech.


The Wayward Sisters

Run Ragged

Love Child

She’s got the whole worlds in her hands

La Collectioneuse
(The Female Collector)

Nature Morte / Still Life

Oh no, honey, I'm an angel, I swear

The Storm is on the Horizon

When is that revolution coming???

Fruit of Our Loins/ Nearly 8 Billion

Manmade: Boys Will Be Boys!!!!!!

Holy Cow!!!!!!!!!!!!

His Ship Was Called Lord Jim

Hitched to the Stars

Stairway to Heaven!

A Room Not So of One’s Own

She is not Spoken for

Time is a Game played Beautifully by Children

La Grande Bellezza

For Child is the Father of Man

She famously fainted when She saw the Elgin Marbles

Rapture Means Being Taken Into The Clouds

The Writing is on the Wall

Ask Me No Questions And I Tell You No Lies

Persian Love Birds


Chased from Paradise

Rebel With a Heart

Fallen Woman

Call to a Prayer

Goat Spirit

Cormorant (Shag)


Baby Ostrich

Unicorn Bird Nest

She Rocks

La Jouissance (The Pleasure Taker)

Et Dieu Etait Une Femme!
(God was a Woman)

Dance Baby, Dance!

Buddha YaYA

Come on Light my Fire

Running Through the Meadow

Dancing in the Meadow

My works are erotic displays of of mental confusions (Marlene Dumas)

I am deliberate and afraid of nothing (Audre Lorde)

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
(Mary Oliver)

For Most of History Anonymous was a Woman (Virgina Woolf)

I feel there is something unexplored about woman that only woman can explore (Georgia O’Keefe)

I think about you, I just don’t say it anymore (Marguerite Duras)

October Gallery, 24 Old Gloucester Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 3AL Tel: + 44 (0)20 7242 7367