In 2011, on her first visit to the United States, Sydney born artist Agatha Gothe-Snape had a chance encounter at Los Angeles International Airport with legendary American conceptual artist, Lawrence Weiner (b. 1942). Agatha forwardly introduced herself to Weiner and, there in the airport, showed him some videos she had been making based on Weiner’s incidental hand gestures. Weiner holds particularly currency for Sydney artists via a now-canonical work commissioned by the Art Gallery of New South Wales for the 8th Biennale of Sydney; (THIS AND THAT) PUT (HERE AND THERE) OUT OF SIGHT OF POLARIS.
Five years later, invited by RoseLee Goldberg to make her first work for a US context, Gothe-Snape remembered her encounter with Weiner at LAX. For her Performa 15 Commission, Rhetorical Chorus (LW), she returns to that moment, and considers the the legacy of conceptual art on subsequent generations of artists and the expressive power of the gesture through the encounter of their hands.
With an interest in the ways in which conceptualism negated her physical “hand of the artist” in the making of a work of art, Gothe-Snape has undertaken a laborious research process that involved schematizing Wiener’s hand gestures from online footage and cataloging every text work he has ever made. Rhetorical Chorus (LW) will complete the rhetorical loop by giving voice to the artist's hand via choral interpretation and vocalization.
Here, Gothe-Snape shares with us an animated PowerPoint featuring a collage of Lawrence’s hands sourced from online interviews, and a direct quote from Wiener: “I guess we will have to take this out of context.”