SCHQ Electric: Andrea Zittel


SCHQ Electric presents Andrea Zittel’s video work Clutch. Made in 2010, as a documentation of ‘touch’, the video explores the communicative power of gesture and physical interaction – the sole mode through which we negotiate and experience others and the world beyond our self.

Seen through series of close up views, Zittel records her own hands interacting with those of her then young son, Emmett. Their hands brush together, are held, palms inspected and grasped. They converse through gesture, variously playing out facets of the pair’s relationship – ranging from forms of control, gentle coaxing and nurturing, to playful teasing. Throughout, these understated rhythms of negotiation reveal how often imperceptible, yet instinctive non-verbal acts can articulate a kaleidoscope of emotional information and intimacy.

The film reflects the essence of Zittel’s practice, that is indivisible with daily life, and through which she investigates psychological structures, social values, and the relationship of the body with our environments. The simplicity of the gestures recall the early performative works of Bruce Nauman, in particular his actions relating to the body and use of himself as both medium and subject. Like Zittel’s work, Nauman’s early body art reflected upon his own daily routines and habits such as pacing back and forth (Walk with Contrapposto (1968) showed the artist pacing a narrow passageway in a stylized classical attitude). Recorded with slow purpose in flickering sunlight, the intimacy of the shared action in Clutch represents an affecting view of motherhood and the dependency of childhood.