Look at your hand, that tool between a fin and a wing, which developed fingers, a thumb and now grasps and touches everything, real and imaginary. It images the real in its tactile rendering of objects, distances and shapes. It realizes the imaginary by gesturing, approximating thinking through space.
Can I read your hand?
Its surface, gestures and lines offer a complex image that calls for reading. Many readings actually, as each reading is in turn an imaging, a composition, an expression of possibilities.
Jason, Céline, Audrey, Koenraad, Jessica – Can I read your work?
Dr. Charlotte Wolff (1897–1986) read the palms of André Breton, Man Ray, Maurice Ravel, T.S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, Antonin Artaud, Cecil Beaton and Aldous Huxley. She read their character in their hands and their palms also figure in her now rare and exceptional book Studies in Hand-Reading (1936).
But reading always happens between at least two: the reader and what is read – be it books, palms, objects, people, artworks. To engage in this kind of reading together is to engage in study. I propose to gather in the Studio, with books, hands, artworks, coffee and drinks, to read.
A Studio in Hand-Reading is an exhibition, a studio, a study and a display of artworks and their author’s hands.
Charlotte Wolff (1897–1986): scientist, radical sexologist, chirologist, philosopher, wearer of men’s clothes, psychologist of gesture, lesbian identified* acts as an attractor for topics and ways to read in the Studio.
Valentina Desideri proposes the Studio as a place that generates modes of being together. She will be present in the exhibition throughout the exhibition, inviting participants as well as visitors to gather for reading and in study. This Studio will be the basis for a publication (to be launched at the end of 2015 by Kunstverein Publishing). The exhibition begins with one work by Jason Dodge and a reading by American poet, translator, editor, activist, and educator Christian Hawkey. The show continues to accumulate artworks weekly: following Jason Dodge, Céline Condorelli, Audrey Cottin, Koenraad Dedobbeleer and Jessica Warboys will lend a work and a print of their palms, available for reading in the Studio. The Studio – and its bar – will be open for reading during Kunstverein’s regular opening hours, punctuated by weekly contributions to the study by the invited guests and artists.
*From Christian Hawkey’s N Ear Flowers Re Fre/nd: A Poets’ Play
A Studio in Hand-Reading: Charlotte Wolff. A project by Valentina Desideri
With: Liudvikas Buklys, Céline Condorelli, Audrey Cottin, Mike Cooter, Koenraad Dedobbeleer, Jason Dodge, Denise Ferreira da Silva, Stefano Harney, Christian Hawkey, Tim Ingold, Annick Kleizen, Luisa Ungar, Jessica Warboys and Ben Woodard
Valentina Desideri is an Amsterdam-based artist. She trained in contemporary dance at the Laban Centre in London (2003–2006) and later on did her MA in Fine Arts at the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam (2011–13). She does Fake Therapy and Political Therapy, she co-organises Performing Arts Forum in France, she speculates in writing with Prof. Stefano Harney, she writes biographies by reading people's hands, she engages in Poetical Readings with Prof. Denise Ferreira da Silva.