Nöle Giulini

sculpture / objekte

(holey socks, cellulose binder) 1999

“The prisoners whose cells adjoin communicate with each other by knocking on the wall. The wall is the thing which separates them but is also their means of communication. It is the same with us and God. Every separation is a link.”
– Simone Weil

“Most peculiar about the hole is its edge. Still belonging to something it perpetually stares into nothingness–it is the guardian of materiality.”
– Kurt Tucholski

“You have all this matter and there is a hole in it. Does a hole diminish matter or does matter diminish the (w)hole?”
– Nöle Giulini

I ask to have old socks with holes in them donated to me by putting ads in newspapers, sending out requests, telling family and friends and installing collection baskets in various locations. I am looking for those special socks that have been worn down walking one’s path and that have witnessed many a detour.

I prefer woolen socks – they remember the shape they have held better than a shape imposed on them. I record in a book the names and addresses of those who contribute discarded socks to the project so they can be invited to the installation when it is exhibited. In this book, I also record any interesting anecdotes, feelings or thoughts that are given to me by the contributors.

These unwanted socks, considered trash by their owners, are sent to me by friends, relatives or strangers and enter my studio where, in the company of each other, they help me find their true voice and character. Then they go to the site of the exhibition. They are installed in “cloud-like ” formations hanging from the ceiling.

The installation is called “Holy Socks”, taking advantage of the play on the three English words “holey,” which means to have holes, “holy, ” which means sacred, and ” wholly,” which means complete.

The conceptual context of this work consists of the subtle tension created by these different tones that imply something defective and unwanted can be simultaneously sacred and complete. Matter regarded as flawed, insufficient, without value, or no longer useful is elevated through the creative process. Transformation can be experienced through transcended matter. This process attests to the truth that all life has significance and meaning. Every hole is an offering- an invitation to partake of an emptiness crowded with our imagination.

For me the holes in these socks symbolize the idea of individual “openness,” the willingness to merge into the negative space. As we incline toward the hole we lean toward nothing, which- defined by something – allows a glimpse of mystery backlit by spirit.

The question remains whether it is the hole that takes away or denies matter or whether it is matter that obstructs the recognition and realization of the (W)hole.

Nöle Giulini, Port Townsend, September 11, 1999