If you went to Fred Sandback's exhibition Fred Sandback: Sculpture in 1929, you could have asked the invigilators for a
length of wool. Supplied by the artist, for children, so that their 'fingers might do some thinking while [they] wander around and
look at my sculptures'. A fine thread of material literacy, no doubt, woven with spatial understanding through the movement of
fingertips around string, and the body around Sandback's works. It probably also helped prevent the less inhibited from
fiddling with his precisely stretched yarn, their hands already occupied.
I wish Karla Black had handed me a disintegrating bath bomb, to coat my palms with, to save me
artfully skimming them just too close to Acceptance Changes Nothing. (She's right, you know. I've
accepted that I'm an art toucher, but I still feel residual guilt, clinging to me like that dust lined the
creases of my hand)
Just as that powdery installation left a smudgy but definite trace on my hands and my mind, I left
some of myself in exchange. The shape of my reverential, quivering graze, and several molecules
of nervous perspiration. That sweaty swipe, the human trace which is so familiar to those of us
using touch screens, slowly crystallises on our display, eventually obscuring the detail of what
we're looking at. The liquid crystal display becomes an apt name for more than one reason, each
smear showing a spot once focussed on in a sweep of hand-eye coordination. An incredibly tactile
experience emphasises the distance between our fingertips and that which we're reaching out to.
Scrolling through the image previous has saved you the green tinted skin the watercolour pigments would have so generously
provided, had you reached through the screen to personally, physically explore the softened paper drawing. It also alleviates
any conservation concerns, no wear and tear, no un-artistic rearrangement of a precious installation.
This is Display Copy, please touch.