Honestly speaking, as far as art is concerned, I am interested in artists rather than in art. In particular I am interested in people like Nicola Frangione, who rely on art to hold vital energy as capable of determining a new, different relationship with themselves as with the outside world.
Nicola Frangione is a performer who has crossed the boundaries of verbal/visual and sound research as well as of action arts with transmedial consistency, allowing the artist to keep standing out as a ‘measuring instrument’, sensitive to changes in daily life, which is, clearly enough, the chief focus of attention of his journey.
This shared element, which would require a long, probably useless process to be steadily identified, can be found in his sound works dating from the late 1970s as well as in his ‘ritual drama’ works dating from the 1980s-1990s and, in parallel, in the ‘visual scores’ and the more recent experimental sound/voice works.
His ‘actions’ are somehow to be understood as reflections on certain aspects of life, which we take for granted; they are presented in such a way as to make us sensitive to wonder, shaking the pathological immobility the individual is a prisoner of: Poetic Acts.
Nicola Frangione’s performances mean a way of opening new doors to a different comprehension of life, involving different codes, different classes of objects, different ‘worlds’, with a view to projecting the extra-ordinary element which exposes and disturbs, makes every method flexible and decentralised, urges the subject to function as a sentient, innovatory, changing performer, into the semiosphere.
However, according to the ultramedia dimensions of this approach, it is the ‘process’ – rather than the ‘media’ for transmitting the message – that is really intriguing. In life as in art, the ‘process’ does not mean a reproduction or succession of signs; it is aimed at ‘transformation’ – that is, the modification of a state, a psychic one rather than a social one, through an action. A real action, which has an impact on reality, to avoid sticking to abstract thought (the optic nerve of the semiotics of art) only.
Nicola Frangione understands the performing act as an instrument for interacting with the psychic factor directly, without the super-mediation of the conventional techniques and aids of plastic and sound arts, which are involved, through synergic use, as either ‘secondary’ ingredients or activators of energy fields.
It means practising the immaterial art / living art that questions the ‘linear’ outlook on technical/expressive development, claiming that the artistic act is connected with a peculiar ‘amodal’ condition and a state of indifference between the expressive medium and the technological factor.
Thus Nicola Frangione states his opinion consistently, again, through writing, about the abstract customisation of the art product, considered to be a sort of fetishisation of technology, which makes you forget all the circumstances of old delight, when life time prevailed over production time: “... In music as in visual arts, in theatre as in poetry, the peculiarities of the medium have urged the artist to opt for corporative self-defence, in the manneristic belief that dramatic identification is involved. The medium, discipline and technology develop – if carried to extremes – into “philosophical truths” for existential identification, like an eternal, immutable mother who is willing to accept our vices arising from human changes... As for drama and “performing art”, you go beyond multimedia, in a detached way; the work of art means the artist as interdisciplinary synergy; the artist means the main ingredient of collective memory, as the only maker of his or her own art process; a performance means a parallel course between the conceptual language and pulsating emotivity, as thought-action...” Frangione, N., Performing Art e Utopia Concreta - oltre la multimedialità (2003), in: La voce in movimento, Monza, Harta Performing & Momo.
Therefore, motivation, intentionality and the degree of personal investment – rather than the contents of the act – are what makes these performances into extra-ordinary situations, ‘exceptional’ daily events.
In Nicola Frangione’s work, daily and exceptional events share the search for a poetic sense and depth in people’s habitual behaviour; nothing is more boring than a repeated act; hence amazement, surprise, unexpected situations, the peculiar nuances of an act prove to be distinguishing features of acting – new yet very old –, connected with the rites of daily life.
Understanding and investigating one’s own acts, according to the ‘memory of the body’ may mean ‘activating’ unconscious sources and discovering ancestral expressive power, as handed down from parents, from ancestors, from the social community.
Nicola Frangione’s works clearly suggest that man’s freedom means a wealth of different opportunities, on the basis of which the artist gives up absolute certainties and can define and judge inner life only through the poetic act that allows usually repressed or latent energies to be shown – that is, the act that is the name for a real utopia.
Nicola Frangione gives up ‘shows’, which need certainties, and, when performing, he searches for an authentic ‘present being’ who tries to show himself something of himself, something to look for in the body/soul, through real ‘soul actions’, and not through performed acts, rather than thinking of what he should show of himself to other people; a Zen journey, a journey round emptiness.
However, according to Jacques Lacan, the whole of art is based on some construction round emptiness; all reflections on art involve a blind journey, swaying like on a walker’s tightrope.
Nicola Frangione’s creative activity proceeds in the middle of such emptiness, arranging it while thinking of future removals, rituals for deconstructing theories, the subversion of imaginary situations as mediated by power and its representations, suspended judgements claimed as alchemic seals for his works.