Nigel Rolfe


Nigel Rolfe’s first solo exhibition in this country is a kind of minisurvey of his previous performances, or rather, their artifactual remains. Though these objects cannot do full justice to multimedia performances that employed projected light, electronically charged sound, video, and slides, they are all that those of us who haven’t seen the original works have to go on. What remains of Dance, Slap for Africa, 1983, is a black cloth map of Africa with a red impression of Rolfe’s naked body awkwardly embracing it. By contrast, in Going Boeing, 1985, a blue figure seems to flee from an equally black crashed airplane. In general, Rolfe contrasts a lively body with an object signifying, in his words, a “socially important” issue, and he means his direct body action to convey engagement with the content suggested by the object. The aura of bodiliness is at odds with the sign of the object,

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