From To: The Spirit of Hands was a live-streamed performance by Brian Fuata, concluding his online residency hosted in collaboration with the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery alongside its Image Bank exhibition (2021). The performance was recorded at the Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) in Brisbane, Australia, where Fuata was simultaneously in residence to create new work for the 10th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art. For both residencies, Fuata explored correspondence archives housed at each institution, and the practical and iconographic appearance of hands in correspondence art practice, with his own email performances and structured improvisations that use the figure of the ghost as a narrative device. For the Belkin and Western Front, Fuata took inspiration from the Hand of the Spirit, an image icon widely circulated among Image Bank, General Idea, and other artists in the early 1970s.
From To: The Spirit of Hands was a 20-minute structured improvisation, composed of historical references and text generated through conversation, correspondence, and email performances staged during Fuata’s residencies. The performance incorporated Fuata’s material surroundings as potential subject matter in an act of unfolding relations. Over the course of the performance, Fuata moves through the various spaces of QAGOMA, interacting with the building’s architecture, furniture, water feature, and gallery staff and visitors, as well as Ai Weiwei’s large-scale sculptural installation, Boomerang (2016), and performance props, including a large fabric sheet, a stool, and large sheets of paper printed with the content of his email performances, “From To: email performances” (2021). From To: The Spirit of Hands was timed to a predetermined duration, with Fuata’s mobile alarm signalling the end.
The performance was followed by a conversation between Fuata and Western Front’s Executive Director, Susan Gibb.
Western Front presented this event with the support of QAGOMA, Brisbane, and the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. Additional support for the online residency was received from Partners in Art.
Video documentation of Brian Fuata, From To: The Spirit of Hands (2021).