Diane Victor
Smoke portraits

26 October - 3 December 2005

Diane Victor exhibits a profoundly moving and elegiac series of drawings that use the transient and impermanent nature of smoke and its deposits as their medium.

The series includes 36 portraits made from photographs taken by Victor, documenting patients at the St Raphael HIV/Aids Centre day clinic in Grahamstown on a single day in October 2004.

Victor describes the process: "The portraits are made with the deposits of carbon from candle smoke on white paper. They are exceedingly fragile and can be easily damaged, disintegrating with physical contact as the carbon soot is dislodged from the paper. I was interested in the extremely fragile nature of these human lives and of all human life, attempting to translate this fragility into portraits made from a medium as impermanent as smoke itself."

A renowned printmaker, Victor was born in Witbank in 1964 and lectures at the University of Pretoria among other institutions. Recent group exhibitions include Open End: Images of men and women living with HIV, a German/South African exhibition at MuseumAfrica, Newtown (2004); Personal Affects: Power and poetics in contemporary South African art at the Museum for African Art and the Cathedral of St John the Divine, New York (2004); and Waldsee 1944 in Budapest, Berlin and New York (2004). In 2005 she was awarded the Gold Medal for visual art by the South African Academy of Arts and Sciences.



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Smoke portraits: Walter, Alice, Sylvie, Simon


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For more information contact +27 (0)21 421 2575 or fax +27 (0)21 421 2578 or email info@michaelstevenson.com.

2005 Michael Stevenson. All rights reserved.