The Archive of Gesture

by Alexandra Lethbridge

The Archive of Gesture (2020) is an ongoing series comprised of found images, still life photography, and digital manipulations. The focus of this series is the absence of information. Using Greek statues as a reference, the works included in The Archive of Gesture are made thinking about the balance between absence and presence, transparency and obstruction, truth and lies.  In many instances, the limbs or arms of Greek statues are missing, broken off, or amputated over time. The famous statue Venus de Milo has been long debated as to what she was doing with her arms. Speculation includes the possibility she was grazing the shoulder of a warrior, holding an apple, or gazing into a mirror. She was also pictured supporting a shield holding the names of heroes and sometimes as a mother holding a baby. The reconstructions of Venus de Milo’s form are endless, and no one offering seems to satisfy all the critics. The opportunity gained by the information being withheld means we are free to create meaning as we see fit. The work considers the parallels between this idea and modern-day society where we are very rarely given all the information and are required to fill in the gaps ourselves – rightly or wrongly so. Following on from the research thread started in previous works such as Other Ways of Knowing and The Path of an Honest Man, this new series expands on this interest in the construction of meaning, misinformation, and the consumption of information. This work when physically installed is shown with the addition of a series of hand castings mounted onto concrete plinths. The castings and still live of hands act as a balance to the missing gestures shown in the images of the Greek statues.