Siobhan Davies and dance artist Matthias Sperling were invited to present To hand (2011) as a counterpoint to Carl Andre: Mass and Matter, a new exhibition at Turner Contemporary in Margate.
Originally created in response to Claire Barclay's Shadow Spans at the Whitechapel Gallery, Davies and Sperling revised and developed the piece to engage with the exhibition and the ideas behind the selection of Andre's works on display at Turner Contemporary.
To hand responded to the implicit invitation in Andre's floor-based installations to move around the objects from which they are made. Echoing Andre's sculptures, To hand shifted the presence of the body and movement in the gallery from a vertical to a horizontal plane.
Carl Andre is influential for his sculptures made of ordinary industrial materials which are arranged directly onto the floor. By reducing sculpture to its most basic elements and flipping it to become horizontal, Andre helped to redefine the possibilities of this artform for a whole generation of artists.
In March 2011, Siobhan Davies and dance artist Matthias Sperling created a new work for the Whitechapel Gallery.
To hand was performed within Claire Barclay’s Shadow Spans installation over four hours a day for a period of three weeks. The work is informed by Davies’ and Sperling’s engagement with Barclay’s installation and the ideas behind her work.
"Matthias and I entered Shadow Spans and like every other visitor, we brought the outside world into the installation. Claire Barclay was ahead of us, she seemed to have relished finding out about how certain objects are crafted and her work already included exquisitely made things, each one re-imagined from activities, structures and materials found in the Whitechapel Gallery's present and historic environment. The individual parts as well as the whole exist in their time and their own variations of completion. Each object invites being looked at.
Matthias and I have been involved in several processes in order to find the particular durational presence our movement might bring amongst this stillness. We continuously came back to thinking about what Claire must have learnt in order to make her work and we concentrated on finding simple movements that need a complex collection of decisions to make each movement work and be noticed." Siobhan Davies