Digital Wondering 14

Digital Wonderings are a series of online speculations around the curatorial theme of TRUST. They can take any form, from a conversation, a short statement, a film or a photographic series. Invited contributors come from a wide range of disciplines and can respond and react to the theme and the format as they wish.

Artist Portrait: Carmen Winant (USA)

Carmen Winant has made new posters especially for TRUST to be shown on the City Light Boards all around Leipzig, and at the entrance of the exhibition in Werkschau.


‘There are so many ways to enter a theme like this one’, she writes about the work. ‘I considered myriad approaches, from the more literal (I have a pile of images in my studio, for instance, of ‘trust fall’ exercises) to the more oblique. Ultimately, I couldnt stop thinking about this collection of hands Ive been holding onto for over a decade, moving them with me between cities and studios.’


What started out as a collection of pictures of Marlene Dietrichs hands while performing (cut from a book given to Winant by an elderly neighbour) has grown to encompass thousands of other actresses’ hands, mixed together and held in place in an oversized notebook: ‘In the process, I became enamoured with how actresses use their hands as tools of their craft, as instruments of expression and manipulation. It seemed to me there was so much in these detached gestures: a channel into thinking about performance and performativity, certainly, but also about vulnerability, grip and eagerness.’


Depending on their orientation, the hands collectively brace for a fall or rise together in unison (in an imaginary classroom, or a court of law). Winant explains: ‘This guided my thinking about trust: it’s the thing we give to the actress, or perhaps something they demand from us, to really feel a performance. It’s something that has the capacity to shapeshift between people, contexts, orientations. And it’s something we do perpetually, together and in exchange.’



Carmen Winant is an artist and writer based in Columbus, USA. She is the Roy Lichtenstein Endowed Chair of Studio Art at the Ohio State University and a 2019 Guggenheim Fellow in photography, and her work has been featured in numerous exhibitions at key galleries and museums, including MoMA and the Kunsthall Charlottenborg. Winant has published several photobooks such as My Birth (2018), Notes on Fundamental Joy (2019) and the recent Body Index with TBW Books.