Artist Imprints Cupped Hands Into Clay Bricks as Unique Memorial to Father

Red Clay Bricks, Site Specific Installation by Dan Stockholm

The act of touching is intimately connected to the artistic process of Dan Stockholm. This is exemplified in his piece called By Hand, a site-specific installation that features a collection of red clay bricks that each have impressions of his cupped hands. Each slab varies in how much it reveals of Stockholm’s body; some feature both his hands, creases and all. Others are more demure, and they show just a finger or two.

By Hand is one part of Stockholm’s larger exhibition titled HOUSE, which was on view in spring 2016. The overall concept, however, began to take shape just a few days after his dad’s death in 2013. At that time, Stockholm spent three days “methodically touching” every inch of the exterior of his father’s home. Afterwards, the artist translated this meticulous process into plaster casts of his handprints. This laid the groundwork for By Hand, which was created in a similar manner. To construct it, he pressed 12 of the handprints into damp clay that was then dried and arranged into a low wall.

The clay sculpture installation is an abstract representation of both Stockholm’s father’s home and the mourning he went through. Through the simple brick, both of these memories live on.

Artist Dan Stockholm imprinted his hands in red clay bricks.

Red Clay Brick Site Specific Installation by Dan Stockholm

It's based on a practice that he started after his dad died in 2013; Stockholm spent three days “methodically touching” the exterior of his father's home.

Red Clay Brick Site Specific Installation by Dan Stockholm

Red Clay Bricks Site Specific Installation by Dan Stockholm

Afterwards, he created plaster casts of his handprints, which helped create the clay bricks.

Red Clay Brick Site Specific Installation by Dan Stockholm

They are an abstract representation of his father's home—a unique memorial to the man and Stockholm's mourning process.

Red Clay Brick Site Specific Installation by Dan Stockholm

Dan Stockholm: Website
h/t: [Colossal]

All images via Dan Stockholm.

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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