This morning, I was going through an old batch of porcelain which had developed some mould. I did not want to add this to my current work as it might affect the integrity of the whole in some way. This encounter opened out an opportunity. Rather than just throwing it away I adapted an idea I have been thinking about and used in previous shows. The opportunity for people to use touch in the context of work which is too fragile to handle. The showpieces are about a deep aspect of humanity. This brought up the idea of gesture which is part of the work I have critically incorporated into the sculptures. The emotional input, as I have mentioned before, is finely balanced with rational world-building. In the process of mediating between these two states, I leave imprints.
The piece of porcelain as I have handled is the first of a series of matrices created from an imprint which can be ‘followed’ by someone else as a moment of tactile communion. It is a personal gesture whilst universal – it is both human and animal. It reminds me of handling ancient objects. It reaches out in a physical way to others.
Hand Axe, Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania
1.2 – 1.4 million years old
It brings to mind, the Krell handprint in Forbidden Planet. More recently, Neil MacGregor’s second and third broadcasts in The History of the World in One Hundred Objects on the Olduvai Gorge stone chopping tool and hand axe respectively.
This could form a participatory activity for visitors whereby they make their mark, to be added to a display documenting their passing presence.