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Work / Publication

Steve Carr’s Variations for Troubled Hands is a poetic exploration of the role of gesture in ballet

New Zealand artist Steve Carr’s new publication Variations for Troubled Hands is a poetic exploration of the hand gesture in dance. The 528-page book contains more than 200 images of a young ballerina’s hands as she performs 12 acts of a ballet. The model, Cadence, was chosen for her “perfect hand position” and is only ever seen cropped from the elbow out.

The book’s title is an imagined technical manual for ballerinas and builds on an earlier photographic series created by Carr in 2015. The book, designed by Wayne Daly, is sparse but leaves plenty of room for the imagination, leaving the reader to determine what a gesture means and how the fait of the body might be affected out of shot.

Variations for Troubled Hands “leverages the long history of hands in art and film,” says Ulanda Blair in an essay that concludes the book. “From the fetishistic symbolism of surrealists Man Ray, Salvador Dalí and Luis Buñuel, to the nonchalant minimalism of choreographer and experimental filmmaker Yvonne Rainer… At once an interactive object and a performance space, [the book] manifests the dynamics of movement, and invites us to dance with it.”

Variations for Troubled Hands is available in an edition of 700 and is published by Perimeter Editions.

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Steve Carr: Variations for Troubled Hands

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Steve Carr: Variations for Troubled Hands

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Steve Carr: Variations for Troubled Hands

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Steve Carr: Variations for Troubled Hands

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Steve Carr: Variations for Troubled Hands

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Steve Carr: Variations for Troubled Hands

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Steve Carr: Variations for Troubled Hands

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Steve Carr: Variations for Troubled Hands

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Steve Carr: Variations for Troubled Hands