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Thursday, 16 May, 2002, 13:58 GMT 14:58 UK
Nude artist starts 'cutting' show
Franko B
Franko B has often courted controversy
Art fans have seen a nude performance artist wound himself at a controversial show in Warwick.

Italian-born Franko B paints himself white and has members of the public file individually past his naked body at the fifth annual Fierce! festival at Warwick Arts Centre.

But he has said reports that he makes a 10cm wound across his stomach are "absurd".

The scratch is symbolic - it is about being vulnerable

Franko B
The Aktion 398 show involves "a scratch" across his stomach "like a classical painting", he insisted.

All of the two-minute individual "slots" between 1600 and 2200 BST to see the performance were sold out.

The Times newspaper had reported Franko B was to "cut his stomach and invite an audience to look at the wound", but he insisted "the scratch will be stuck together with tape - it is not a wound into my stomach".

"The scratch is symbolic - it is about being vulnerable," he told BBC News Online last week.

The controversial show is backed by the publicly-funded Arts Council of England, funding questioned by Tory culture spokesman Tim Yeo.

'Internationally acclaimed'

Franko B has previously attracted controversy by standing on stage in a Christ-like pose with blood pouring from his wrists and feet, and walking up and down a catwalk while bleeding from his arms.

Fierce Festival director Mark Ball has insisted Franko B's performance was not as shocking as seeing pictures of assassinated Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn on television.

"Health and safety is of paramount importance to us and Mr B is totally in control of his own body," Mr Ball said.

"He is internationally acclaimed and has performed across the world.

"His repertoire mixes both visual art and live performance art and he would say his work is about beauty, with his body as the canvas and his blood as the material."

See also:

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