We’re going to take your hands, they’re to go on without you – I watch my hands intently for the rest of the day.
I watch them perform everyday tasks, the familiar gestures that have become so assured.
Time makes the body assured. There are other factors I’m sure. In the body is a good listener.
Bells are cast. Pores ring. The temperature is right. Favourable conditions lead to music.
I consider a life without bells or hands to warm them. Palms
up – I weigh the soft sides on my cheeks.
Lost in thought, or hope, this is where I would choose to loose anything that belonged to me – anywhere close.
Who can best fold my skin? Who can shake it out, and dance and dance? I would undo silence but not the holiday.
I will let go and only tell the story at my feet. I’ll feel the goose- bumps of my skin withdraw from significance.
I will not be hidden, I will not be awake. I will have my ears glued to you, because you know me. Listen outwardly.
I will tell you eventually it wasn’t my hands, but something I never knew I possessed.
Hannah Wilke (1940-1993)
‘Gestures is a series of performance-based works in which Wilke faces the camera in extreme close-up and performs repetitive or durational physical actions. At times she kneads and pulls her skin as if it were sculptural material. Often her gestures – rubbing her hands over her face, smiling so hard that she appears to be grimacing, sticking out her tongue – take on a loaded significance when seen in the context of gender performance.’