The couple are driving along a country road, arguing. The argument peaks. They are too close to the lorry in front. He gestures with his hand out of the window. She accelerates. Confusion. Collision. His hand is severed. The nightmare begins’
Taking its title and point of departure from the cult 1980’s horror film The Hand, which stars Michael Caine as a comic book artist who suffers a terrible accident, WORKS:PROJECTS latest exhibition brings together new and rare work by six British artists in an exploration of malevolence and foreboding.
The film starts as if to plot Caine’s struggle with his disability, but soon the people around him start to die as it is revealed that the severed hand has developed a life of its own, fulfilling Caine’s subconscious desires.
The exhibition mixes moving image and drawing in different forms to populate the gallery with visions of the inanimate and disembodied conjured into life, brooding voyeurism and undertones of dark sexual desire. Here the hand is the vehicle of creativity and destruction. A contradiction. An autonomous power. An exquisite predator.
The works directly and indirectly reference a classic moment in American Hollywood horro, from Mark Dean’s hypnotic use of shower scene footage from Carrie and Mike Nelson’s rare, macabre drawing of the murderous ventriloquist puppet from Magic, to David Musgrave’s Television Drawings, that are reminiscent of malevolent forces making their presence felt through the white noise of television static in Poltergeist.
These works combine with the implicit horror in Edwina Ashton’s dark rendering of her deformed simpleton doctor. The sexual violence that lurks beneath Cornelia Parker’s beautiful but suggestive Pornographic Drawing is magnified in David Mackintosh’s looming wall painting of an eye peering through a keyhole which ties together the tone of malevolence & sexual predation that permeates the exhibition.
Each work is a darkness. And in darkness lurks The Hand.