A Studio in Hand-Reading: Charlotte Wolff. A project by Valentina Desideri

23 May – 25 June 2015
Opening: Saturday 23 May, 6–8 pm

Jessica Warboys, Four Lines, 2011

Look at your hand, that tool between a fin and a wing, which developed fingers, a thumb and now grasps and touches everything, real and imaginary. It images the real in its tactile rendering of objects, distances and shapes. It realizes the imaginary by gesturing, approximating thinking through space.

Can I read your hand?

Its surface, gestures and lines offer a complex image that calls for reading. Many readings actually, as each reading is in turn an imaging, a composition, an expression of possibilities.

Jason and Raimundas, Céline, Audrey, Koenraad, Jessica – Can I read your work?

Dr. Charlotte Wolff (1897–1986) read the palms of André Breton, Man Ray, Maurice Ravel, T.S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, Antonin Artaud, Cecil Beaton and Aldous Huxley. She read their character in their hands and their palms also figure in her now rare and exceptional book Studies in Hand-Reading (1936).

But reading always happens between at least two: the reader and what is read – be it books, palms, objects, people, artworks. To engage in this kind of reading together is to engage in study. I propose to gather in the Studio, with books, hands, artworks, coffee and drinks, to read.

On Saturday 23 May
Christian Hawkey will read his poems
On Wednesday 27 May and Thursday 11 June
Annick Kleizen and Valentina Desideri will unravel ways of reading
On Saturday 30 May
Luisa Ungar and Milena Bonilla will read Céline Condorelli’s coffee
On Friday 5 June
Ben Woodard will talk about the relation between gestures and thinking
On Tuesday 16 June
Tim Ingold will discuss lines and making
On Friday 19 June
Stefano Harney will lead us in study
On Thursday 25 June
Denise Ferreira da Silva will talk about notions of reading and imaging

A Studio in Hand-Reading is an exhibition, a studio, a study and a display of artworks and their author’s hands.

Charlotte Wolff (1897–1986): scientist, radical sexologist, chirologist, philosopher, wearer of men’s clothes, psychologist of gesture, lesbian identified* acts as an attractor for topics and ways to read in the Studio.

Valentina Desideri proposes the Studio as a place that generates modes of being together. She will be present in the exhibition throughout the exhibition, inviting participants as well as visitors to gather for reading and in study. This Studio will be the basis for a publication (to be launched at the end of 2015 by Kunstverein Publishing). The exhibition begins with one work by Jason Dodge and Raimundas Malašauskas and a reading by American poet, translator, editor, activist, and educator Christian Hawkey. The show continues to accumulate artworks weekly: following Jason Dodge and Raimundas Malašauskas, Céline Condorelli, Audrey Cottin, Koenraad Dedobbeleer and Jessica Warboys will lend a work and a print of their palms, available for reading in the Studio. The Studio – and its bar – will be open for reading during Kunstverein’s regular opening hours, punctuated by weekly contributions to the study by the invited guests and artists.

*From Christian Hawkey’s N Ear Flowers Re Fre/nd: A Poets’ Play

A Studio in Hand-Reading: Charlotte Wolff. A project by Valentina Desideri

With: Liudvikas Buklys, Céline Condorelli, Audrey Cottin, Mike Cooter, Koenraad Dedobbeleer, Jason Dodge and Raimundas Malašauskas, Denise Ferreira da Silva, Stefano Harney, Christian Hawkey, Tim Ingold, Annick Kleizen, Luisa Ungar and Milena Bonilla, Jessica Warboys and Ben Woodard

Valentina Desideri is an Amsterdam-based artist. She trained in contemporary dance at the Laban Centre in London (2003–2006) and later on did her MA in Fine Arts at the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam (2011–13). She does Fake Therapy and Political Therapy, she co-organises Performing Arts Forum in France, she speculates in writing with Prof. Stefano Harney, she writes biographies by reading people’s hands, she engages in Poetical Readings with Prof. Denise Ferreira da Silva.

Please follow the updates regarding scheduling for A Studio in Hand-Reading: Charlotte Wolff on this website and on facebook. Weekly invitations will also be sent out to announce forthcoming events.

Much thanks to Stadsdeel Zuid, Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst, Sandberg Instituut, Mondriaan Fonds as well as Kunstverein’s (Gold) members for their generous support.