The Equivalence of Hands

It was a pleasure to spend time with Helen and Laila. I was immediately struck on visiting their ‘nest’ by the evidence of their attempts to create order, identify form, explore meaning – the word wall, the arrangement of materials and made objects, the video evidence all being part of the exploratory process.

A word that kept coming to my mind was ‘correspondence’ – both in the sense of similarity, equivalence, connection, but also as an exchange of ideas, inspiration, momentum between the two artists.

Observing their work in the textile studio I was continually aware of corresponding relationships between the artists – some conscious, some subconscious, some possibly unconscious. These exchanges and connections (or contrasts) were apparent in the physical attitudes (crouching, leaning), in sounds (call and response), in rhythm and tempo and in the exploration of imposed constraints.

To what extent does the ability to appropriate incidental or accidental events – sound, movement, light, etc – become part of a shared creative process? What, if any, is the correspondence between the responses of the artists to these events and the observation of them?

We were all struck by the significance of the hands as a focus of similarity and difference.

The Equivalence of Hands

Like a whisper of graphite on paper
or a dream of fading ink
a body in motion leaves a ghost-print
in the room,
a slight reverberation,
a trace that feathers towards the edges
of awareness.

And parts of the body – hands for instance –
also paint the space
as they weigh,
bear weight,
enclose emptiness,
touch distances,
define boundaries,
breach frontiers;
hands that
speak and listen
resist, accept
shelter, reveal
invoke, defy
confront, repeal,
hands in rhythm, in harmony, in unison;

a hand
a hand like a sail catching the breeze,
like a wing lifting into flight,
like a leaf or an upturned star,
like pebbles shifting in the tide,
like a piston, a pivot,
a fan
a flag
a vessel
a lever
an axe
un abri
un éclair
une feuille
un flambeau
une aile, une aile, aile, île, le.

Stephen Boyce


21 June 2012


Stephen Boyce




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