Gestures from a Body at Work

Gestures from a Body at Work: Unsuccessful Attempts at Grasping Eternity

by Clive Knights

This book brings together a selection of collages created by Clive Knights over the past three years into six thematic chapters. As the artist states in the Introduction:

“Each collage gathered in this volume is like a bridge that leaves me hanging. Each collage intimates the possibility of completing the span in a munificent, revelatory act of unification, while always, inevitably, falling short. Though, just as my arms can’t reach to the moon, the shortfall in the dimension of my limbs will never deter me from pointing out its beauty with a gesture. So it is that the collages succeed in failing every time; they conceal precisely what they disclose; they expose the cover-up; their inadequacy to the task crystalizes into unanticipated beauty; they offer furtive glances at the invisible; they reach out in unsuccessful attempts to grasp eternity. In gazing upon Eurydice’s beauty, Orpheus loses her forever, yet he cannot resist.

Itinerant’s Map of Utopia: Clear Sky Fragment by Clive Knights
11″x11″; paper collage on paper; 2021. Courtesy of the artist.

The collages are thus recurring attempts at extended gestures that acknowledge the limits of my body to reach into the transcendence of the world. I stick paper upon paper, image next to image, material layer over material layer, in order to stretch the reach of my fingertips towards the ineffable depths of my imagination ensconced in a world too vast and too vital to be encompassed by singular images, to be fully grasped by a unified perspective, to be completely held by any possessive impulse. One does not need to be religious to recognize that all things are fully present but never fully revealed, no matter how long we wait for it all to show up, or how much we aim to clarify our mode of vision. To have perspective on the world is exactly that, to perceive from here to there while acknowledging the contribution of terrain beyond that scope, of the surplus that exceeds the bounding horizons of that perception, of the shadow that fringes the revelatory light of perception, of a depth that holds only its surface up to our faces.”

Gestures from a Body at Work: Unsuccessful Attempts at Grasping Eternity
by Clive Knights
179 pages, full colour
ISBN: 978-0-9718903-6-7
$40 USD
School of Architecture, Portland State University, May 2022

Purchase the book by contacting the author through Instagram Direct Message