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Tag: gesture


Lost Wax

Lost Wax shows artists at work in the traditional brass-casting district in Benin City (Nigeria), using the ancient lost wax technique (cire perdue) and recycled metal from the West to produce metal cast artefacts. The newly produced artworks are in an uneasy relationship with the Western-dominated market that maintains a self-interested and arbitrary divide between authentic (pre-1897) objects and ‘cheap’ reproductions, destined for lovers of ‘African’ art or seen to be ‘flooding the market with fakes’. However, even if the new casts are in the historical style of those famously looted by the British in 1897, they are not reproductions, as each cast is a unique work of art.

So what is their status and who are they for? Lost Wax does not directly answer these questions but instead creates an immersive environment, a visual and auditory mise-en-scène of the extraordinary interplay of materials and the ‘dance’ of the hands working on them. The visual and auditory constellation of the spread-out monitors mirrors the shared labour and the simultaneity of different processes and stages of production. Lost Wax creates a tactile portrait of the skills and gestures inloved in making the metal castings: the careful handling and preparation of the basic elements – earth, wax, discarded metal, wood, fire – the modelling of a clay core, the precise application of details with wax, the minutely timed stages of the casting process itself and finally the filing and polishing.


In Concert

In Concert explores the relationship between memory and the body, focusing on how memory is physically inscribed or embedded in habitual gestures. Music is a poignant example of this, as the rehearsal of a piece does not just result in it being memorised mentally but also corporeally.

In Concert shows a cellist and a pianist playing the first movement of Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No 1 without their instruments. The music operates as a kind of ghostly mnemonic prompting their physically remembered gestures.

This work is accompanied by a series of drawings entitled Pentagraphs. In Concert was first shown in the exhibition State of Mind at the LSE in London (May 2005). It has subsequently been exhibited in ‘Swiss Art Awards’ at ART 37 Basel, in ‘A Shelter in the Time of Storm’, a Lichfield Cathedral and the exhibition ‘Performance’ at Wings Projects Art Space, St. Prex.

Performers: Louise McMonagle (Cello) and Rami Sarieddine (Piano)
Music: First Movement of Shostakovich’s Concerto No. 1 for Cello in E-flat major (op. 107), 1959



The drawings in the series Pentagraphs represents the first seventeen bars of the cello part of Shostakovich’s Concerto No. 1 for Cello in E-flat major (op. 107), 1959. It employs a method inspired by an 11th century musical notation/memorization system which was devised by Guido d’Arezzo to conduct. It uses the hand, assigning to each part of every finger a specific note.