HIV Smoke Portraits

Michael Stevenson Gallery Cape Town
6 October - 3 December 2005

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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."