John Giglio’s notebooks rock, too

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Images from John Giglio’s notebooks of a body cocooned into a wall

For work you’ve never seen before, work that mixes conceptual body art with dance, performance, sculpture, architecture and installation, check out the exhibit of John Giglio at Carbon 14 (just north of Rodger Lapelle), where the artist has lined the walls with a huge small sampling of drawings from his voluminous notebooks. The drawings are plans for performances or installations, explicit and beautifully conceived so that a viewer can “get” the concepts pretty easily. (I would fight tooth and nail for him to be on my team in Pictionary. We’d never lose).

The realization on video of some of the drawn plans as performances are there too (see Roberta’s Giglio post here for more on that). But I was bowled over by the drawings because, usually, the documentation of performances are lost on me. I want to see the real thing or forget it. Giglio’s plans, though, clearly reveal the ideas behind the performances and carry the intellectual heft of the work, which is downright mind expanding.


I came away thinking, like Roberta, that the best comparison I could come up with is dance–Brian Sanders in Philadelphia, Pilobolus, and Momix. But Giglio is less about the motion and storytelling and athleticism, and more about space and structure.


Images from Giglio’s notebooks. Some of the ideas were pretty funny

Coincidentally, a couple of videos now on view in Nexus Selects, by graduating student Elena Saxton (see stills here and here), seem to be going in a similar direction, using costume to extend the body and its role in spaces. But Saxton’s videos present the modified body inside a landscape and a cityscape, with the focus more about the body as separate from what’s around it.

Giglio is thinking about the body as architecture as well as the body in architecture. And he’s thinking about how the body can extend beyond its normal usurpation of space to become a new structure. He’s also thinking about how it can work, how it can be a tool.

The variety of ideas here–a small sampling from his oeuvre–is reason enough to not miss this show. The quality of the ideas here is reason enough, too. So don’t miss this one. For more photos of Giglio’s drawings on Flickr, go here.

As Roberta mentioned, Giglio is also up right now at the Aldrich Museum. We’re planning a write-up about that one, too.

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