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Nigel Rolfe, b.1950

Dance Slap for Africa1983

Nigel Rolfe lives and works in Ireland. Since the late 1970s he has developed an international reputation as a performance artist. His practice also encompasses installation, drawing, photography, video and audio media. Rolfe‘s work explores the influence of history on the individual through aesthetic gestures wrought by his body’s interaction with visceral materials such as blood, milk, rope, flour and bogwater.
Dance Slap For Africa records a performance commissioned for an exhibition at the Centre Pompidou, Paris in 1983. According to Rolfe, it ‘deals with concepts of freedom (Dance),sexual identity and violence (Slap) within the anthropology of cultural tribes…To dance for self, to leave the body on the one hand and then the face repeatedly slapped without defence confining self trapped inside, on the other’.

MediumTwo-channel video (colour, sound)
Duration20 min
Credit LineIMMA Collection: Purchase, 2006
EditionEdition of 3
Item NumberIMMA.2002
Not on view
Image Caption
Nigel Rolfe, Dance Slap for Africa, 1983, Two-channel video (colour, sound), Duration: 20 min, Collection Irish Museum of Modern Art, Purchase, 2006

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About the Artist

Nigel Rolfe b.1950

Born in the Isle of Wight, Nigel Rolfe lives and works in Ireland. In the late 1970s, he attained a prominent position as a performance artist. Rolfe’s work also encompasses installation, drawing, photography, video and audio media, and examines the influence of history on the individual and society. Rolfe has exhibited extensively, including a retrospective exhibition of his 'Archive' at IMMA in 1994 and retrospective 'Nigel Rolfe Vidéos 1983-1996' at the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris in 1996. His video works have been exhibited in the Kwangju,1997 and Sao Paulo 1998 Biennales. He has taught at the Royal College of Art, London; Chelsea School of Art and Design, London, and the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. He is an elected member of Aosdána.
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