Lewis, CA., Pettican, A., Mojsiewicz, K., 2017.
|Venue:||Chetham's Library Museum|
Research question- How can artists combine existing research concerns relating to gesture, embodiment and material transformation with a specific archive to create new artwork in response to a heritage site.
Gestured is part of Meeting Point2, a year-long project led by contemporary art specialists Arts&Heritage (www.artsandheritage.org.uk). 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. Funded by Arts Council England's Museum Resilience Fund, Meeting Point2 presents artworks in unexpected places and
supports small and medium scale museums to commission artists, who will create a piece of work in response to the venue.
Gestured is a constellation of artworks inspired by alchemy, transformation and symbolic gesture, hidden within the books and secret spaces of Chetham's Library. In the margins of a book owned by alchemist John Dee, Brass Art discovered tiny ink drawings of hands pointing to ideas emerging in the text. In Hogarth's prints they followed playful and
shocking narratives that unfold through individual gestures. Cowper's life-sized anatomy book revealed exquisite illustrations of cadavers in uncanny life-like poses. Taking their cue from the collection, the hands of all three artists have been replicated at different scales, using both
traditional casting and state-of-the-art 3D printing technologies, to mimic, multiply, pinch, cradle, caress and direct.
For the installation Gestured, Brass Art have brought many of these elements together in a constellation of artworks that can be found throughout the presses and hidden spaces of the library: sculptural hands support objects, fabrics and prints informed by the collection;
colourful forms in hot glass are inspired by the alchemists' search for the transformation of matter; and a series of hand-made alchemical vessels have been reproduced from historical images of apparatus. The artists have used these glass vessels as lenses to film and contain video works as part of the installation, reflecting external views around Chetham's
Library and individual gestures. Together the artworks form a creative response to the deep sense of wonder Brass Art found as they explored both the historic building and the rich collection it holds.