Testing the Waters

This site-specific sculpture, measuring 7m. x 2m. x 3m., was created for Schloss Trebnitz, a civic and cultural education and exchange centre in Trebnitz (formerly Nowa Trzebnica), Germany during the “Who is Afraid of Figurative Sculpture?” pleinair and exhibition in 2014.

The work rests on land behind the castle grounds and a man-made pond from the DDR era. The sculpture depicts a larger-than-life transparent human arm, with an apparent welded armature covered in non-rusting hexagonal mesh. Over time, aquatic plants from the pond grew inside the portion of the hand that rests on the water and fish and insects even made their homes within it.

Seen from afar, the work looks like a delicate line drawing in the Trebnitz landscape. As the viewer approaches, the industrial materials become visible and the work suggests more ambiguous interpretations. The sculpture itself appears as the armature for a permanent work of art, as a cage, or as a tunnel. The hand itself stretches out over the surface of the water as if to catch something (indeed local residents suggested the hand could function as a fish trap) but this deliberate posture does not meet with immediate results. The arm is constantly reaching out, about to dive into the water, always almost ready to engage fully with its’ surroundings.

The reflection of the hand in the water is an integral part of the piece; the appearance of two hands together; one real, one reflected, suggests a temporary meeting of different peoples, reflecting the mission of the Schloss Trebnitz association. At the same time, the second, reflected, hand is not always visible; light and weather conditions, as well as the viewer’s own perspective, determine whether such a gathering can really take place.

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