Hand Catching Lead

Hand Catching Lead is a short film made by Richard Serra in 1968. Serra was part of the Process Art movement.

There are multiple versions of the film on YouTube. (Relevant to federated wiki is that each has been subtly altered--by advertising, by coloration, by explanatory text. Do we think of these as forks?)

In one version, Hand Catching Lead is spliced together with three other short Process Art films from the same period: Serra's companion pieces Hands Scraping and Hand Lead Fulcrum, also from 1968, and Marcel Broodthaers' La Pluie (1969).

YOUTUBE fVHcSXPfb_M Compilation of four short Process Art films

From the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA) website link : "The film shows Marcel Broodthaers trying to write while the rain constantly washes away the ink. In the final scene, during which the artist gives up and drops his pen, the inscription “Projet pour un texte” (Project for a text) appears."


PROJECT FOR A TEXT I hate movements that displace the lines. If I make a film, for a genre still defined as the discipline of movement, I have to repeat Baudelaire’s verse, unless… 1. … I don’t make the film and at the same time accept the value of the unused film, the filmmaker’s blank page, and pray that someone else makes it. 2. … I make the film at the expense of hate. A love film for instance. This is highly enticing but involves the risk of serving as a banner for a wide range of merchandise —advertising and propaganda films, pornography, prohibited films… 3. … I set aside the problems of film-specific language and consider the film as a simple reference to a type of abstraction. Thus, in certain aspects of conceptual art the film is often a banal intermediary in which the idea plays the role of the main subject matter. But doesn’t the subject seem shrunken by that conventionalism of transmission style, if not absorbed and relegated to a rarely original documentary of hackneyed ideas? … The new image techniques rather than those of film (laser) enable us to find a solution — fleeting I fear — which is indeed interesting. But you have to be immersed in the world of technology to use this type of medium with any success. And here I find myself cruelly split between something immobile which has already been written and the comic movement that animates at 24 images per second.

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