Bruno Barbier


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Identity part 1: "Book of changing lines - changing people" (2013). In the 1930s the Swiss publisher Albert Skira published the almost mythical surrealists magazine Minotaure, edited by André Breton and Paul Eluard, publishing works by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Marcel Duchamp, Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró, René Magritte, Man Ray and Brassaď to name but a few. Minotaure gave an experimental visual platform to a new wave of Surrealists and modernists of that time which included examples of works, photographs and manifestos by writers, poets, philosophers and artists mainly from Europe and the United States. In one edition (published circa 1934) André Breton, André Derain, Aldous Huxley and Antoine de Saint-Exupery had their palms printed and analysed (see attached image). The hand readings were probably done by Dr. Charlotte Wolff, the physician, psychoanalyst, feminist and keen cheirological researcher, books by her include: 'The Human Hand' published in 1942 and 'The Hand in Psychological Diagnosis' published in 1951. The hand readings and writings shown in Minotaure's publication and later in her own books were probably executed in collaboration with Adrienne Monnier a French bohemian essayist and publisher who ran the bookshop "La Maison des Amis des Livres" in Paris. Monnier wrote personal essays on a range of subjects from Beowulf to André Breton and was a reader and reviewer of the most difficult esoteric, spiritual and surreal literature of that time; a range of insightful interests which also included cheirological research. What Wolf was later able to establish in her books was that there was a lot of significant information embedded in our hands that said an awful lot about the psychological, creative and spiritual states of the human mind. Could such creative and psychological characteristics be leaving lasting impressions on our hands, that tell us more about who we are?
This ambitious limited art book project is an eclectic selection of creative individuals' hands, carefully chosen by the artist, that deals with the relationship between creative influence or forces and human identity as assessed through the medium of palm reading (cheirology).