Oliver Jeffers’ recent exibition (last Wednesday) was the first in a series of performances where small groups watched as he dipped each portrait into vats of bright enamel paint. The sitters of his portraits were all linked by the experience of having witnessed personal loss close hand. Jeffers had never shared the paintings outside of his studio nor had any of them been photographed. Only the witnesses of the performance saw the transformation and had to rely on their own memories to see what had been since been covered in bright paint.
Once something is permanently gone, whether it’s someone who dies or an image destroyed, you have to rely on an imperfect memory. There is a curiosity about the lost details that can never be retrieved.
For me there is such beauty in the art of creating something so rich and yet not becoming attached. The finished product is completely new and fresh and speaks to me even more.