“Each Line One Breath” belongs to a four-part series titled “Existential Abstracts,” where Franzen deconstructs primal functions of life, namely to ‘breath,’ to ‘feel,’ to ‘see,’ and to ‘think.’ “Each Line One Breath” is the first of this exploratory chapter, taking the lungs as its starting point, and the breath as its element. Each drawing from the series combines both the organic and the mechanical, with every line laid down drawn with a single breath of the artist.
The following line is laid down as a reaction of the preceding one. The quasi-automatic pattern of drawing lends itself to a mechanical process, while the artist’s breathing results in irregularities and variables. As a result, the externalization of the artist’s emotions and thoughts are laid down in each piece.
Existentialism speaks of existence before essence—the notion that humans are born with no purpose to life and it is up to the individual to seek meaning. Franzen draws upon his own physicality in his search for his answer, and in doing so, endeavours to measure the universe and creation itself.
Further to the philosophical, his investigations are informed by theories of astrophysics and quantum physics, to spiritual consciousness and Daoism. His cognitive approach to measuring the macrocosm brings Franzen’s art into the realm of the renowned 1950s and 60s avant-garde Zero art movement, which began in Germany under the leadership of artists Heinz Mack, Otto Piene and Günther Uecker.
“Existential Abstracts Pt. 1: Each Line One Breath” invites audiences to experience and internalize art, guided by Franzen’s breath and the resulting abstract artworks, the viewer is encouraged to reflect upon their own existence.