Born in the Isle of Wight in 1950, Nigel Rolfe lives and works in Dublin, Ireland. He works with many media – video and photography and sound – and for the past forty years he has made performances in Asia and throughout Europe, the former Eastern Block and North and South America. Live work is central to his practice.
“In his photos stillness is literal; in his performances it is relative. Both show the same fierce condensation of feeling.” Janet Koplos, Art In America
Nigel Rolfe is recognised as a seminal figure in performance art, in its history and among current world practitioners. The central contention of his practice remains that art making is a live engagement. He initially studied sculpture and used the term “Sculptures In Motion” to describe his work, which was material-led but across time. Later these direct material interventions became more produced and staged and in the 1980s were large-scale and multi-media.
Underlying the work always are socio-political concerns of have and have-not and fault lines in the world. Since moving to Ireland in 1975 he has been involved in those issues directly and locally. His work with sound and audio production includes a number of recordings, which have widespread recognition, notably Lament which was released on RealWorld Records in 1992, described as, “A stunning piece of work… each track is a call to the spirits of life in the face of devastation.”
He was among the first artists to use video since three early 1970′s and has considerable experience there. Hand On Face was shown world-wide and at the Concert To Release Nelson Mandela in 1988, Wembley Stadium, London.