Notes on Gesture (for H.C.)

34 framed black-and-white photographs

In a number of my works, certain influences or references reoccur, or are reconsidered. The work of Aby Warburg is one, as can be seen in The Man Who Looked Back (2010), and also Chris Marker’s 1963 masterpiece, La Jetée, which was central to that work and to this one, also.

In The Man Who Looked Back (2010), I considered the many gestures within the film, frozen within its still images, and this is my interest here, too. I have replicated a number of the poses of the main female character — played by Hélène Chatelain, the ‘H.C.’ in my title — especially those in which her hand gestures play an important role; this is further emphasised by my own lack of facial expression. As many of these gestures are made during the scene in the museum — one of great tenderness, and intimacy — a rather unusual effect is created. Smiles and soft glances are replaced by closed lips and blank stares; love is replaced with melancholy.

Some of my works, including that which follows, are incredibly elaborate, and depend upon a certain scale, and set of resources; here, and in other works, I am interested in the making of work with very little: a camera, a body, and a room.

This work was made with the assistance of Emma Smith during a week-long residency with Siobhan Davies Dance as part of ‘Station to Station’ at the Barbican.