Elizabeth King

Compass 1999/2004

Installation: carved wood (holly), magnetic mechanical drive, fiber optics, lacquered wood cabinet.
Cabinet dimensions 74 x 25 x 16 inches.

Arms and hands are jointed and movable, and posed. Hands are 3½ inches in length, half life-size. The upper hand is set in motion by a magnetic drive mechanism designed for this piece by artist Christopher Taggart. The motion is at first imperceptible: half purpose, half tremor. The two arms are mounted at the viewer’s chest-height in a cabinet that frames the action but allows the “backstage” mechanism to remain visible. Originally installed within a wall opening, the mechanism hidden. Reworked as a free-standing cabinet in 2004. The two arms were made in 1986 and shown alone as Untitled 1986.