Francesca Vivenza

“Conceptually, my work describes disorientation. I question the stability of taken-for-granted sites of personal identity as home, nation and native language.” ~ Francesca Vivenza

Francesca Vivenza Artwork Currently for Sale

Francesca Vivenza

Tentative Itineraries


My practice has consisted of mixed-media works, which include site-specific installations, cut-out collages and book-works. I call all my works Tentative Itineraries

In my installations, I use old, found, mass-produced and personal items. In the two-dimensional works: acrylics, geographical and geological maps, and shredded letters (from Italy). The collages are cut out to form intricate labyrinths.


My work focuses on the reclamation of the old and its transformation into the new. I address themes of travel as migration and displacement, and exploit my ambiguous relationship between English and Italian, my first language, as a reference in developing my works.

My working philosophy is informed by the historical and geographical attributes of my culture. The Mediterranean Sea is and has been the basin of confluence and collision of Northern and Southern Europe, North Africa, the Balkans, and the Middle East. My works bring the complexity of these tensions to North America.

Conceptually, my work describes disorientation. I question the stability of taken-for-granted sites of personal identity as home, nation and native language. Thus my works offer a visual equation of the contradictory nature of human desire: the struggle between affirmation and negation, assimilation and marginality, complicity and escape.


Francesca Vivenza was born in Rome, Italy, in 1941. She graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera, Milan, in 1966, and since 1970 she lives and works in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Vivenza has exhibited in Italy since 1966, and internationally from 1971. From 1995, Vivenza was invited to international-based Group Shows organized and toured by the historical gallery/collective Il Gabbiano Arte-Contemporanea, Le Spezia, Italy. From 1992 to 1998, Vivenza was the Canadian editor and writer for NEXT Arte e Cultura, an international art periodical published in Rome, Italy. In 1993, she curated A SEXTET FROM TORONTO, a six artist’s project, for Harbour Magazine, Montreal, Quebec. WITH W. Mark Sutherland, she co-curated THE ORDER OF THINGS, an international fax project, and METALOGOS, a Canadian language-based show exhibited internationally from 2006 to 2008.

Major Solo Exhibitions of her works: Dive, the Koffler Gallery, TORONTO, in 1995, curated by Carolyn Bell Farrell, Forget Me Not, Visual Arts Centre, Clarington, and the Art Gallery of Peel, Brampton, Ontario, in 2007, curated by Maralynn-Cherry and David Somers. In Italy, in 1997, Vivenza exhibited Terra-Cotta, an audio-visual, site-specific reprography installation at Castello des Busca, Mango (Cuneo, a XVII century castle in Piedmont) with a catalogue by Tila Kellman, and in 1991 Sotto Sopra at Galleria Astrolabio, Messina. Her special effects video Mother’s Tongue was presented at Arcipelago Film Festival, Rome, in 2002.

In 2003 she was invited to build an outdoors site-specific installation at the Tree Museum, Muskoka, Ontario. Her work, Outpost, was published on the cover of Espace Sculpture, Montreal, in 2004, and re-printed in Landscape, a design magazine from Dubai, in 2011. In 2008, invited by J. Grande to Sculpture Sackville, an international outdoor exhibition, Vivenza produced the site-specific installation On the Way to on the grounds of the Ladies’ College at Mount Allison University, Sackville, New Brunswick. In 2011, Vivenza took part in ILLUMI-NATIONS, the 54th Venice Biennale, Padiglione Italia Nel Mondo, in Toronto, and in the Bentivoglio Archive exhibited at MART (Contemporary and Modern Art Museum of Trento and Rovereto), Italy. In 2022-23 she participated to the On Site review issue 42 atlas of belonging, London, ON, with a page by the title Exchange. Her work A PAINTING Remembered was published on the front cover.

Her artist’s books can be found at Art Metropole, Toronto, in Italy at Derbylius, Milan, Il Salotto, Como, Il Gabbiano-Arte Contemporanea and Biblioteca d’Arte, Palazzina delle Arti, La Spezia.

Francesca Vivenza’s archival papers and related documents, 1969 – 2021, are at the Clara Thomas Archives and Special Collections, York University Libraries, Toronto, Canada.

Recent Exhibitions & Projects

Suggested Reading. Christie Contemporary, Toronto, Curator Claire Christie
Attraverso l’Arte, La galleries IL GABBIANO 1968 – 2018.
IMAGINE MY HOUSE: Birch Contemporary, Toronto, ON.
ON THE VERGE OF: Casa Loma, outdoors site-specific installation, Toronto, ON; The garden of the Consulate General of Italy, Toronto
PROCESS / PROJECT: Kunst-Keller, Krefeld, Germany. Curator D. Haustenteufel
PAPER TRAIL: Lonsdale Gallery, Toronto
Palazzo Loredan, Venice, Italy. Curator F. Valente
TENTATIVE LANGUAGE: Il Gabbiano–Arte Contemporanea, La Spezia, Italy
LIBRETTO DIGITALE: Museo Mandralisca, Cefalù, Italy
PAPER AFFECTION: De Luca Fine Art, Toronto, ON
MYSTERIOUS MAPS: Mobile Tours, Brooklyn Art Library, N.Y, U.S.A.
POESIA VISIVA – LA DONAZIONE BENTIVOGLIO: MART (Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art), Rovereto, Italy. Curator D. Ferrari
PADIGLIONE ITALIA NEL MONDO, 54 BIENNALE di VENEZIA: Italian Cultural Institute, Toronto – Arsenale, Venice, Italy. Curators V. Sgarbi, F. Valente
AN EXCHANGE WITH SOL LEWITT: Cabinet, Brooklyn, N.Y., U.S.A. Curator R. Basha
LITTLE HOUSE IN ORBIT: The Cooler, MADE, site-specific installation, Toronto
HIC SUNT LEONES: Il Gabbiano-Arte Contemporanea, La Spezia, Italy
MINIBOOKS: Stadtbibliothek, Bayreuth, Germany
ROMA SOUVENIR, LA CITTA’ E IL VERDE: Galleria d’Arte Istituto Portoghese, Rome, Italy. Curator P. Rufini
MINIMA POETICA: Galleria Venezia, Venice, Italy. Curator M. Caldarelli
PUNTI DI (UNA) VISTA/Point of (a) view: Il Gabbiano, La Spezia
C’È DI MEZZO IL MARE/ Proverbs et al.: Il Salotto, Como, Italy
SCULPTURE SACKVILLE 2008: Sackville, N. B. Site-specific installation. Curator J. Grande
CONTEMPORARY VIDEO ART, Screening Series: Lambton Gallery, Sarnia, ON. Curator L. Daniels
THE FOREST FOR THE TREES: StFX Art Gallery, Antigonish, N.S. Curators: F.Vivenza, A. O’Callaghan, J. B. Salem with T. Kellman
AND SO, ON: Station Gallery, Parry Sound, ON
FORGET ME NOT: Art Gallery of Peel, Brampton. Curator David Somers; Visual Arts Centre of Clarington, Bowmanville. Curator Maralynn Cherry

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