In this study for the artist's monumental 1940 painting Hide-and-Seek, the branches and roots of a tree metamorphose into hands and feet. Tchelitchew described the ink study as transforming "my hand into an imaginary tree." When he subsequently decided that the double hand was "too much," he reimagined the tree with both a hand and a foot, a composition that can be seen in the watercolor version. In his desire to "represent man in his relationship to the whole of the created world," Tchelitchew conflated gnarled twists of bark and spindly branches with knobby knuckles and wandering veins.
Gallery label from Exquisite Corpses: Drawing and Disfiguration, March 14–July 9, 2012.