IMAGES by Henry Chan
The room is book-ended by two boards on wheels. Stacks of vertically placed card-stock lean against these dividers. These piles are organized by colour or shade. Their surfaces are black, cream, grey, brown and blue. Francesco Gagliardi emerges on the stage and begins an elaborate and thoughtful choreography of spatial and aural cuts, divisions, reorientations and displacements using the objects staged within the space. He begins a poetic mapping. He arranges and re-arranges. He slides the card-stock across the desk. He flips this form to its side to reveal a new shade. The sounds are dragging and swiping. He opens the top of desk and props it up. He closes it. He feels beneath the table and removes a sheet of paper. He holds out the sheet that teeters between fingers forged together. You think the sheet may drop but he has full control and it does not. This teetering is orchestrated. All gestures are an exploration or staging of balance and precarity. He procures a stack of paper and lifts leaves one by one to reveal text. He orates their contents before gently placing each sheet on a tilting display. Each action imitates the previous activity. There is play with the aesthetic of surface and form and frame.
Some reverberations I could discern and still recall:
Sunday begins with food and bath and man and the obstructed line view. Sunday begins with garden, sage and parsley. Sunday begins with kitchen cloth, bread cheese and spoons. Sunday begins with waiting months, weeks and years…
It could have been memory loss described. It could have been restaurant, fish and fresh soup. It could have been eating ice-cream. It could have been oil and salt. It could have been sunny and then suddenly sad. It could have been nerves as mouth and temper…
Was also wearing makeup at home. Was also migraines forcing white silk over hats. Was also taking the bus and fearing gunpowder. Was also older women and racial preferences. Was also diagnosis. Was also certainty.
A steady progress to winter. A steady progress to paint and paintbrushes and safety pins. A steady progress to the heart of the matter. A steady progress to brother and sister. A steady progress to gardens and being stolen and to no return. A steady progress to health and knowing things. A steady progress toward death.
The sheets of paper now begin to slide as they accumulate with each successive addition. They slip under each other’s weight, impression and thrust until the last sheet is placed on top of this tower. All the lines refer to its predecessor. They all begin the same until there is a rift marking a new sequence of poetry. Gagliardi proceeds toward his final station where there sits a pile of folded and patterned sheets. He lifts the first and undoes its meticulous folds. Then grabbing the corners to join them at the centre he reconfigures and manipulates the cloth into a new form. He tosses the new construction onto the floor before moving to the next sheet. He continues these manipulations a second and third time. With each successive unfolding and remodelling a new form emerges until all three folds sit side by side on the floor and Gagliardi is bowing and leaving us and the space marked differently.