From 06/23/2023 to 07/28/2023
New York, Estados Unidos

The exhibition Words of mouth and hands by artist Carlos Amorales at Kurimanzutto comprises a six-channel video installation with a set of original music scores and works on paper that take as their point of departure a creation myth the artist imagined in which a serpent created the underworld by burrowing through the earth with its voice.


The artworks follow the transformation of the written word into choral music and the subsequent translation of music into graphic symbols. Amorales’ six-channel video installation evokes ideas of the sublime through chants. This major work portrays musician, composer, and performer Sarmen Almond singing two poems and the myth of the serpent. As a counterpoint, percussionist Diego Espinosa performs a series of dancefloor rhythms with his hands and body. In another video the hands of the artist are shown browsing through a notebook in which he developed an idiosyncratic system of signs and symbols for conducting choirs. The drawings in this notebook were inspired when seeing a choir director gesticulate with her hands, arms and body. The artist imagined these movements as drawings in the air.


Voices, sounds, traces, gestures, claps, signs and symbols collide as the fragmented elements composing a series of drawings, Motion Clapping, in which the artist uses the contour of his hands to trace the motion of music. The voice and body percussion compositions, commissioned by Amorales for his videos, directly correlate with this body of work. A large-format installation of paper banners, Silent Choir, depicts a sequence of spray-painted profiles suggesting the presence of a massive choir in the gallery.


Words of Mouth and Hands continues the artist’s transdisciplinary inquiry into the relationship between contemporary art and different cultural practices, which in previous works have ranged from wrestling to the music industry, fashion, literature, and cinema. These various areas have interested him for their potential to manifest the sense of existential fragmentation in contemporary life. Through the act of repetition, formal experimentation and conceptual questioning, Amorales offers new perspectives into such practices and displaces them into art.


In an oscillating motion of translation that goes back and forth, Words of Mouth and Hands delves into the ancient and sublime connection between vocal and hand gestures, into their graphical representations. By symbolically presenting an anonymous singing mass, Amorales opens a political stance on the unifying power of singing together and its potential to invoke the will and power of the people for a common cause; hence, pausing the individuals’ existential fragmentation through the act of communion. The choir, through vocal and hand gestures, is an expression of a unified whole.

In his artistic research, Carlos Amorales is interested mainly in language and the impossibility/possibility of communicating through means that are unrecognizable or not codified: sounds, gestures, and symbols. Amorales experiments at the limits between image and sign with an array of platforms: animation, video, film, drawing, installation, performance, and sound. His practice is based on different forms of translation: instruments that become characters in his films, letters that become shapes, and narratives unfold as non-verbal actions. As the basis for many of his explorations, Amorales has used Liquid Archive: a project composed of shapes, lines and nodes instead of words that he started in 1998 and continued to nourish for over ten years. In addition to Liquid Archive, he has developed other alphabets and systems that he uses to translate texts that range from museum labels to short stories. The works of Amorales exist in an alternate world of their own making, parallel to ours; constantly evolving at the same rhythm that they are produced.


Words of mouths and hands. Solo exhibition by Carlos Amorales.


Until July 28th, 2023.


Kurimanzutto. 520 w 20th street, New York, United States.