John Franzen’s life experiences have constructed a world in itself, where several themes arise as essential for both his life and his art. Franzen compares himself to a scientist, a shaman, and a priest; his role and responsibility as an artist is to investigate the governing principles of the universe. In this process, he mainly focuses on the nature of darkness, nothingness, destruction, and creation. The objective of Franzen’s research is building a cosmology, a coherent interpretation of the mechanisms of the universe.
In order to do so, Franzen experiments with different artistic methods. He begins with the use of paper and the colour white, to explore what he considers the ‘beginning’. Next, is the investigation of the line, with the use of drawing in the medium of ink, graphite, or blood, as a method that formats the blueprint of the universe. The substantial module of this project is one line, a single stroke, a mere movement, that aims to embody the essence of all creation. Each further act is merely a repetition of the first one. The analysis of the line and the nothingness, have led him to transform the act of drawing into a process of meditation, a conversation between the medium and the artist. This connection transforms the visual value of his artistic project into both a performance act and a personal ritual, that serves to answer both Franzen’s inner questions, as well as his cosmological inquiries.
Furthermore, the essence of Franzen’s philosophical anthropology is a narcissist view of all human beings. This theme, together with the importance of destruction and deconstruction, takes his performative act to a different level with his latest project. This project consists of the use of big reflective titanium panels, in which he makes cuts, holes, and other destructive acts using different tools. With such acts, Franzen aims to destroy in order to heal both his and the observers spirit. He aims to ‘destroy’ the narcissist reflection of the viewer on the metal sheet. Franzen considers that the viewers, as well as the art market, are nothing more than the center of their own space and time. The recording of these acts is extremely important, not only in this impressive project but in the rest as well. Every piece Franzen creates always involves both a methodological experimentation and a ritual. The former can help him to create the cosmology while the later can heal his soul.