recent & current

text: ihnbeom lee

june 2007


Christopher Jones has focused on the theme of memory for several years. For example, his solo exhibition trace-retrace at Kyoto Art Centre last year explored his experience of revisiting Japan eighteen years after having spent two years living there. In Trace Retrace Jones examined how something that has disappeared might be recreated in the form of a painting or print. However, he neither illustrated the image nor was interested in documenting, reproducing, or describing the memory of what had been lost. Rather he explored the structure of memory making use of painting, and digital and conventional forms of image reproduction.

Although this exhibition, Erasure, in Seoul, Korea in 2007, shares the same root as Trace Retrace, there is a distinctive difference. Here, in order to make a piece of work Jones has to erase something (an image or physical material) from it. By cutting out the image, or by using a negative mark, Jones discovers the act of erasure as part of his working method. Therefore, it can be said that his methodology here is something beyond how to recall or 'remake' memory. Jones examines the possibility of the act of 'erasure' as a way of looking into our way of life. His works make the viewer look at the empty space, which leads them to pay attention to the presence of the absence.

Although the subject of his works might relate to memory or the substance of memory, I consider that his real interest seems to be the absence, the void, and what the absence can create. And what he erases seems to be not only the image of the memory but also something of the act of painting. No one can deny that he is very much a painter, however, there is a real paradox that Jones uses the method of erasure in order to paint. By erasing or painting the time and space of the void, he crosses over the gap between absence and presence or between past and present. His activity of painting seems to resemble the dhyana of traditional Buddhism the method of which is so ambiguous that it is sometimes hard for us to access. Yet, Christopher Jones' works of painting or erasing are refreshing as the methodology and its outcome are so clearly visual.

translation: cho saemi