Back to THE HISTORY OF THE FUTUREFall 1999/ Winter 2000

Friday, October 22, 1999   Endurance:

Nigel Rolfe, Rope

This is a three image work based on a five minute core extended to a twenty minute sequence. The left hand image is the artist's head being bound in creosote-covered sizal rope against a green background. The centre image is the dancing feet of a champion traditional Irish dancer, dancing below the knee, against a white background. The right hand image is the artist continually drenched with large quantities of water, against an orange background. The three colours that constitute the Irish tricolour. In a certain way this is a cruciform, the dancing feet are at the centre with formally to one side the bound head and to the other the baptised head. It taps into the identity of the self and cultural identity, the body represented here by the head is smothered and drowned but meanwhile the feet celebrate and repeat, a strange discussion is enacted. Political power and the identity of self in culture and history are called into question. The Rope: Taken in part from the complete work: "The Rope That Binds Us Makes Them Free". A work for Ireland The Leitrim, a county towards the North-west we found cottages left long ago with everything intact. Like the Marie-Celeste, floating in a deserted and barren landscape. Tea by the hearth; food on the table; the bed just slept in... This work is about those places, a memory, an echo of distant voices. From one of the cottages, I took a ball of twine, sisal and covered with creosote. To bind my head with this ball. To Capture, to contain, to smother- perhaps a symbol of Ireland. THE ROPE THAT BINDS US MAKES THEM FREE.

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