The charms of long, knotted hands in harmony. Beckettian hands.
The charms of prehensile eyes lifting unsteady fingers in a nervous, aesthetic action.
The charms of eyes and hands blending into one body and shaking the nerve of poetry.
The charms of a studied, drawn structure, first searched for and then giving way, in performance, to the irresistible impulses of the hands, eyes and body.
Enjoying performance with Nicola Frangione means an existential experience synonymous with deep restlessness and matchless beatitude. I mean restlessness because the artist is contradictory, provocative and unpredictable. And I mean beatitude because the poet can pick up your emotions and melt them into heavenly music.
Nicola Frangione has the “impossible” capability to harmonize mind and body: concept and flesh. An “impossible” capability because his mind always looks for the absolute and, in this search, he writhes and touches the limits of the most ambitious theory. The emphasis is nearly always on philosophical purity.
An “impossible” capability because, in action, the concept turns into flesh, in total freedom: flesh released in a lyric of writing and corporal feathers.
In this extremely difficult undertaking, which is, I would say, hardly equalled in Italy, Nicola is supported by the tireless investigation of two ingredients that are crucial for those who still share an artistic outlook on performance, and not a spectacular one: SPACE and TIME.
Nicola Frangione relies on the concept to prepare an ideal ground for the gestures of his body. He relies on both the concept and the gestures of his body to beat time and times.
Time is there physically as well (I remember, for example, a big clock of his as part of space): however, matter is never predominant. It is the musical and spiritual perception of time – interior rhythm, the rhythm of the soul – that stands out. That rhythm as miraculously “conceptualised” by the body: indeed, in the miracle of the mind. Everything becomes natural and smooth; even improvisation does.
We should be grateful to Nicola, for he did not give up (in the 1980s and 1990s) the “basics” of performance when, after the boom in the 1970s, style headed in other directions.
As performance is now back in (and excessively so), Nicola Frangione can confidently move away from it and abandon “little” (or rather “vulgar”) epigones to their destiny.
As the body and the flesh are now pierced by needles, lasers, pitiless video cameras and major corpses, stress should be laid on the “dematerialised”, “sacralised” bleeding hearts Nicola provocatively exhibited many years ago.
Dates are not opinions.
Frangione’s outstanding aesthetic capabilities, which might sometimes be a hindrance in other disciplines, are always made to work for a substantial idea and an essential movement of the body in performance.
His performing capabilities are also shown in works, videos and sound experimentation: this can but be the case with a comprehensive artist.
It is a shame that in his interdisciplinary work Nicola has seldom been involved with (artistic/poetic) theatre: in the synthesis of several arts, as is the case with real theatre, he could have expressed all his amazing energies as best as possible.
My desire may not be completely balanced.
If you take a look at the performances, including the videos, dramaturgy is self-evident already. Let me be clear about it: I mean an artist’s dramaturgy. Nicola Frangione has never, it is true, written any theatrical texts; yet his “body writing”, which has also been theorized, is the name for high dramaturgy.
As for art history, as long as we can speak of art, Nicola should not be confined to any fixed “cages”. His freedom of expression is the artist’s essence.
His comprehensive interdisciplinarity means feeling times together.
His aesthetic means a desire for harmony and spirituality.
His feelings and provocations are targeted on the indifference of today (namely of today’s many powers).
His shocking, irreverent pauses are the kind daughters of the concept, urging the body, namely the body’s words, to reflect.
His sometimes playful (or mocking) approach involves remembering and reminding, in the wake of Fluxus, that art still means joy: it means the organs’ happiness in the progress of the performance.
His bare nerve is the tough reply to the too many fictions and shameful amoralities prevailing among hardly social people (or people who have got lost in the dirty “sociality” of TV shows).As I have been lucky enough to work with him, I can shout it without exaggeration, while enjoying the pleasure of the truth. If performance is, as I believe, synonymous with truth, Nicola Frangione is the ideal performer. Before any aesthetic and artistic narcissism.