How to Raise a Hand is a work shaped by mourning and by the finding of a box containing 313 cutout photographs of the artist’s dead father’s fingers. This discovery led Angelo Vignali to reshape this material to restore a dialogue with his father, bringing back his presence through his hands. He found himself working with countless fragments impossible to piece together to restore the body in its unity. And yet, a new type of unity emerged as he began to make various casts of his own hands: identical to his fathers, the wax replicas allowed the artist to re-experience the sensation of his touch, embodied and multiplied through the growing presence of these inanimate objects. Moving between touch and vision, he gave life to a play that suggests an intimacy which – despite not being able to experience it directly – he could restore thanks to a collaboration between imagination and haptics, drawing from memory.
The work uses archival photography, performance, and sculpture to explore the themes of family, memory, and loss. It is a search and longing for identity. Identity distinguishes us from each other and makes us unique and peculiar from a biological, psychological, and cultural point of view. But what if we are more similar than what we can imagine? What if our bond to whom we have lost is more substantial than we can imagine? Do the departed live within us, not only in our memories but physically embedded and multiplied in the shape of our bodies?