In the homonym book, Stephen Elcock writes, “The hand is the quintessential instrument (the ‘tool of tools’ in Aristotle’s phrase), the prehensile mechanism of culture by which, for good or ill, we have achieved dominion over the planet.” The visual investigations by Bianca Hérard, Sofia Fernandez-Garcia, and Maria Vasconcellos overturn such a principle of supremacy and rather manifest an intrinsic fragility of the human condition.
Maria Vasconcelos reflects on her father’s premature death, which triggers a search through a family swing between global shores and migrating identities. Her installation speaks of a subtle web of relationships increasingly mediated by technology, fascinating and easy as precarious—an existential network hanging from faceless hands. All this offers the illusion of control, of “supervision,” yet what is missing is precisely the one who questions the gaze. The viewer is invited to recognize the thin thread of connections and the vanishing fabric of unrooted sentiments.
Bianca Hérard’s visual sculpture finds the post-modern, ephemeral, and fluid point of view in the all-encompassing gaze, which aims to capture and simplify the world’s complexity. Scenes in front of some of Paris’s most iconic landmarks are marked by the disorienting insertion of the photographer’s hand reaching into the frame. The hand acts as an intrusive force, reminding us of all artists’ mediating presence in their work. The hand disrupts the compositional perspective, creating visual tensions between the arranged and the accidental while revealing an elusive and temporary nature of representation.
Sofia Fernandez-Garcia delves into the complexities of depression, a condition that can isolate and silence, and finds a voice in the gestures, and movements of the hands. Each photograph captures the intricate nuances of this language, from the weight of solitude to the reach for connection. A way to cope with it is to carry a physical object on your body to remind you of the present. Various people were asked to take a moment to recognize their surroundings, breathe, and surrender to hope and to photograph them with a polaroid camera. These “places” were then transferred onto stones. Viewers are invited to take one with them, to practice mindfulness in moments of hardship, stress, or loneliness.
“Jeux de Mains” | Monday, Nov 6 to Friday, Nov 10, 2023
Opening on Monday, November 6 at 6pm