Performed and edited by David Groot, designed by Mikel Orfanos, documented by Nikola Lamburov. Textual contribution by me, after having been invited to witness a reproduction of Davids painting "Nu aux Bourgeons, 1983" being projected life-size onto a wall in close proximity to my own studio space, somewhere in the winter of 2015



"Nu aux bourgeons 1961"

Due to several consecutive meaningful coincidences, combined with a great personal fondness of the over-symbolised, I have recently come to reconsider the importance of hands.

I started with my own.
Mine are a woman’s hands, and they look a lot like my mother’s. They have also been aspiring to become an artist’s hands in the near future. What they like to do most in the world is making things, and touching things.

From there, in nonlinear order, I landed on:

- The hand as the tool of tools (Aristotle)
- The hands of any artist (I)
- Questions revolving around our two hands and their relation to dualism
- The sense of touch (hands being our richest source of tactile feedback)
- The gaps between our fingers (II)
- The incredibly rich network of linguistics/meanings that surrounds them (‘touching’, ‘handling’, ‘our bare hands’, ‘lending a hand’, ‘to hand down’; ad infinitum)
- Jimmie Durham’s hands, and the generational shift in manual skill set (III) (to which I would like to add: “mind you”: handling a computer is still a manual thing)

And lastly, David Groot’s hands, the reason I felt the need to write all this down in the hope that he would understand the meetings between his painting and this particular train of thought of mine, for I believe there are many.


“In North-Australia somewhere in the 70’s, an ethnographer was on the field with an aborigine who was his informer.

One day they arrived in a rock shelter.

In the rock shelter there were some beautiful [ancient] [cave] paintings, but they were decaying.

The aborigine man started to become sad when he saw the paintings’ decay.

(in that region there is a tradition of ‘touching up’ paintings time after time)

So he sat down and he started to touch up the paintings, and the ethnographer asked the question that every western person would have asked:

‘Why are you painting?’

and the man answered

‘I am not painting’


‘That’s the hand on the hand of the spirit who is painting now’ “

Transcript from Cave of Forgotten Dreams (IFC films, 2010) - Dir. Werner Herzog | Perf. Werner Herzog in conversation with Julien Monney- Archeologist


“There are gaps between the fingers; there are gaps between the senses. In these gaps is the darkness which hides the connection between things…. This darkness is the source of our vague fears and anxieties, but also the home of the gods.”

Watts, Alan (1966). The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are. | Vintage Books edition, August 1989 (page 142, chapter six, IT)


"I can do many things manually, I have a lot of skills: I can carve, I can hammer, I can weld. But I cannot even do a tenth of what my father could: he could do everything."

Bell, Kirsty (October 2012) “Various Elements”: Jimmie Durham in conversation with Kirsty Bell;
Frieze magazine Issue 150 (retrieved from

Susan van Veen (13 Februari 2015)