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I Think I Know What You Want To Say

Installation with photography, video, drawings & objects, 2014 @ Atelier und Künstler, Kommandantenhaus Dilsberg

The gestures presented in videos and images were collected according to 13 predetermined categories (which themselves – as text drawings – make up a part of the installation):

  • GESTURES YOU'VE ALWAYS BEEN INTRIGUED BY,
  • GESTURES YOU'VE BEEN HOPING TO SEE AGAIN FOR AGES,
  • GESTURES YOU'VE BEEN SEEKING FOR YEARS WITHOUT SUCCESS,
  • GESTURES YOU NEED TO GO WITH OTHER GESTURES YOU ALREADY HAVE,
  • GESTURES DEALING WITH SOMETHING YOU'RE WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT,
  • GESTURES YOU'D LIKE TO RECREATE AND MAKE YOUR OWN,
  • GESTURES THAT FILL YOU WITH LONGING BECAUSE THEY DON'T BELONG TO YOU,
  • GESTURES THAT FILL YOU WITH A SUDDEN INEXPLICABLE CURIOSITY THAT IS NOT EASILY JUSTIFIED,
  • GESTURES WHICH ALMOST EMBARRASS YOU, BUT DON'T,
  • GESTURES YOU'D LOVE TO IMITATE, BUT DON'T WANT ANYONE TO SEE YOU PRACTICING,
  • GESTURES THAT DEFY INTERPRETATION, THOUGH MANY HAVE TRIED,
  • GESTURES THAT SEEM TO BE REFERRING TO SOMETHING IMPORTANT, THOUGH PERHAPS THEY AREN'T,
  • GESTURES THAT ARE HARD TO READ, BUT MESMERIZING JUST THE SAME.

I worked with more than 40 people from Heidelberg and the region to create the collection.

WHAT OTHERS SAY ABOUT THIS WORK
Dr. Hans-Jürgen Buderer (former Director of Art and Cultural History for the Reiss Engelhorn Museums in Mannheim) wrote in the exhibition catalog:
"Behind the playfully poetic title lies one of Janet Grau's typically subtle and cleverly thought-out performances, which becomes tangible for the viewer in a media installation for the exhibition in the Kommandantenhaus in Dilsberg. […] If you take a closer look at the catalogue of gestures which Janet Grau has developed…[it becomes clear that the] classification criteria she has created for her collection of gestures is not derived from a scientific structuring scheme based on observable forms of gestures. In an obvious analogy to Italo Calvino, the categories she has developed stem instead from a reflection upon the possible subjective needs and expectations of an imaginary onlooker. […] The work I Think I Know What You Want to Say implies one of those basic ideas that has time and again inspired the artist, namely the question of whether (and if, then how) we even understand each other at all when we communicate using our current modes of communication."