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2017 Gestured, Chetham's Library Museum

Brass Art Installation

Commissioned as part of Meeting Point2, a year-long project led by contemporary art specialists Arts&Heritage.

Taking their cue from John Dee’s marginalia of elongated pointing hands or ‘manicules’, in De Remediis Secretis, the artists were guided through the collection following expressive, symbolic hands - from Cowper’s anatomical plates in The Anatomy of Humane Bodies to Hogarth’s print series A Harlot’s Progress and Marriage A-la-Mode, and including hands of divine, mechanical or mythical provenance.

Through traditional casting, 3D scanning and 3D printing processes, the artists echoed specific gestures found within the library collection to produce ‘arrested’ sculptural forms at slightly altered scales. Working with the alchemical properties of hot blown glass and using lenses, gold and folded cloth the gestures found in the constellation of artworks can be read as physical manifestations of internalized thought meeting the world as an existential reality. At the same time the direct translation of captured flesh to accurate, scaled printed artefact, recasts the artists’ hands as ‘strange’. Like the performative gesture in John Keat’s poem This Living Hand (c.1819) in which the hand that is dead springs forth, so these hands negotiate a transient reality.

Leading UK and international artists have partnered with 10 museums in Yorkshire, the North West and the North East to produce new artworks inspired by the museums and their collections.

Gestured (detail) Chetham's Library- image credit Brass ArtGestured (detail) Chetham's Library- image credit Brass Art