“In the final instance, magic is not a knowledge of names but a gesture, a breaking free from the name. That is why a child is never more content than when he invents a secret language.” Giorgio Agamben, Profanations
Magic Hands is a series of prints that link sacred Renaissance hand gestures with text edited from instructional magic manuals. Inspired by Albrecht Dürer’s famous drawing Praying Hands, the 12 images allude to the persistent allure of the enigmatic throughout the ages. The instructions from a common book of magic tricks are edited to remove any specific objects or tools, producing an awkward poetry that at once obscures any meaning even while hinting at its influence. The essence of the rite is interrupted, made secret, but it also affirms its existence. The artist has printed on antique papers circa 1850 that were once owned by Albertina museum; existing pencil and glue marks reveal a further layering onto inaccessible histories.
Magic Hands was produced with support from Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Vienna during the KEX Residency.
Installation view, Far Away So Close: Part I, Access Gallery, Vancouver 2014 Photo courtesy of Dennis Ha