Ox (Tractor) is a work which deceives by its appearance. Reminiscent of a fragile wooden branch, the sculpture, is in fact, cast in bronze, a hard and cold material. Made by a technique of lost wax, where the heat of the liquid bronze dissolves and removes the wax, the production process operates as a metaphor for the conceptualization of the work, where a living being, that with blood running through its veins, -an ox-, has been replaced by a machine (tractor).
The ox, an animal connected with agriculture and with ploughing the land, i.e. lifting the earth and moving the ground, has been removed from the field in an attempt to automatize and economize labor. Depicted here as a weekend animal, Francesconi combines animal and botanical features creating an anthropomorphic figure, which points to the interdependency between the body and the earth, entities separated through modernization and industrialization, significantly affecting western society’s relation to food production, agriculture, and labor market. The sculpture’s dry and life-less branches can be perceived as a metaphor and materialization of the consequences implied by labor’s automatization and post-industrial modes of food production, which have irrevocably affected man’s relation to the earth, inside, and outside of the agricultural field.
Marked by a strong sense of materiality, the symbolic language of Francesconi’s work serves to narrate a contemporary crisis, which its core is not a crisis of agriculture but a socio-political crisis affecting all parts of life.