THE HAND OF A DEAD MAN by SKULL studio at the Biennale Architettura 2021


THE HAND OF A DEAD MAN represents a point in life when you step out of your comfort zone, because you feel the need to push your limits. It is the moment when you grab a branch or jump into deep water, the moment that allows your feet to lose contact with the ground and take leap (of faith) to get “to the other side.”

When you outgrow the children’s playground yet you still need to play. “The moment of initiation. The ritual of stepping across. You are neither a child nor an adult, but you need what both worlds can offer. The safety of play and the danger of real life”, is Hajek’s poetic description of THE HAND OF A DEAD MAN.

Orten continues: “It’s something that overgrows our everyday lives, something unsean, yet so close that we can almost touch it with our hand. But we need to admit we want so see ‘it’ first”.

Hájek and Orten’s installation is composed of two parts that are in mutual communication – a hand enclosed inside a glass frame and a free-lying birch trunk, which is intersected in the middle by a metal disc. Both objects complement the declaration of the stakeholder:

No, I´m not a speaking stone. Neither am I the last owl female on Earth or a drone. I´m closer to you, humans, right here at your fingertips. People used to believe that moving faster than a horse inevitably leads to death. Such a surprise – trains, planes, spaceships.

I´m standing here, always between the words. A thin line of an idea. You can both enter and leave. I´m a reminder for those who have already set off. I´m a challenge for those who hesitate. I´m right here at your fingertips, though I have no physical body. Source by SKULL studio.

  • Location: Giardini della Biennale, Venice, Italy
  • Architect: SKULL studio
  • Author: Matěj Hájek, Bet Orten
  • Collaborator Production of steel construction: Petr Žák
  • Tree trunk: Josef Sekula
  • Year: 2021
  • Photographs: BoysPlayNice, Courtesy of LINKA

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *