Gestured: Brass Art and exhibition of artefacts

Anneke Pettican (Artist), Chara Lewis (Artist), Kristin Mojsiewicz (Artist)

Research output: Non-textual formExhibition


Gestured (2017) was an exhibition created by Brass Art as a constellation of new artworks inspired by alchemy, transformation and symbolic gesture, within the secret spaces of Chetham's Library. Gestured was part of ‘Meeting Point2’, a year-long project led by contemporary art specialists Arts & Heritage ( Funded by Arts Council England’s Museum Resilience Fund, leading UK and International artists were partnered with ten museums in Yorkshire, the North West and the North East to produce new artworks inspired by the museums and their collections. Taking their cue from the archive and collection, Brass Art cast the hands of all three artists posed in symbolic gestures. Replicated at different scales to mimic, multiply, pinch, cradle, caress and direct, Brass Art worked with experts in their respective fields to develop bespoke casting, state-of-the-art 3D scanning and printing techniques, to create the necessary detail in the hands and possible uncanny effect. Observing the margins of a book owned by alchemist John Dee (1527-1608/9), Brass Art discovered tiny ink drawings of hands (manicules) pointing to ideas emerging in the text. William Hogarth’s (1697-1764) prints presented playful andshocking narratives that often unfold through individual gestures. William Cowper’s (1666-1709) life-sized anatomy book revealed exquisite illustrations of cadavers in uncanny life-like poses, and Althansius Kircher’s (1602-1680) extraordinary illustrations revealed a remarkable engagement with light, shadow and technologies of reproduction. Brass Art brought many of these elements together for the exhibition Gestured. Artworks were placed throughout the presses and hidden spaces of the library: sculptural hands supported objects and colourful forms in hot glass inspired by the alchemists’ search for the transformation of matter. A series of hand-made alchemical vessels, reproduced from historical images of apparatus, were used as lenses to film and contain video works as part of the installation, reflecting external views around Chetham’s Library and also individual gestures gathered from contemporary sources. Together the artworks formed an embodied response to the deep sense of wonder Brass Art found as they explored both the historic building and the rich collection it holds.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherArts & Heritage
Publication statusPublished - 13 Oct 2017
EventBrass Art: Gestured - Chetham’s Library, Manchester, United Kingdom
Duration: 16 Oct 20178 Dec 2017 (Link to Exhibition Information)


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