Artist: Tom Humphreys
Exhibition title: Scanners
Venue: Schiefe Zähne, Berlin, Germany
Date: November 29 – December 19, 2018
Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Schiefe Zähne, Berlin
The whole seen through a hole
Hands are framing a section of a larger visual continuity. While a film or a photograph might be seen as a cropped piece of the visible world a painting doesn’t cut away from a larger context.
To use thumbs and index fingers to shape L’s and then twist your wrists until the L’s match up to form a rectangle reminds me of an ambitious photographer approaching their target before the assistant hands over the camera for final execution.
Double L-shaping could be considered a bit anal, whereas the one handed, laid back way of cropping makes the hand look like an anus. An interesting point of view onto the world – from within, so to say.
The depicted hand looks flat, almost alien with its missing fingers, though it is still in human proportion. The yellow / pink painting displays some extra fingers, thus making it look slightly more human. I’m wondering if an alien would care about photography and painting or its differences in any way.
If a painting does not depict a crop of the visible world it obviously does not show a moment in time either. Rather, it displays a moment in the live of the painter: the amount of time spent on painting the picture, possibly including all the time ever invested in painting. Let’s just say the ignorant alien who neither cares about our conception of time gets a lesson here about some of our human concerns.
This alien now is in the know that paintings can be long-term exposures with nothing ‚real‘ to depict. Rather, the painter might be concerned with creating illusions, in this case: a hand imitating the shape of a viewfinder. Paint gets shifted around until the (human) eye accepts some kind of ‚likeness‘, a depiction of something real.
In these various ways of depicting; of hardly depicting; of completely denying any similarity to anything; of referring to something else but the visible we are looking back onto the history of ‚ways of doing this‘ as well as onto a history of reasons for ‚doing it at all‘.