Ink, Walnut Ink
9.5 × 7.5 in
We change cities, countries, move jobs, make personal choices and some friends disappear. There was a time when every friendship felt secure, for its duration that friendship felt like it was for life. It’s the way with the city we live in, the country we call home. We rely on its endurance. At a time of great instability in the world, our intimacies are tested, some dissipate. One minute everything is certain, then it’s not.
I was a teenager when my family left South Africa, then in my early thirties I left Israel for London, and in 2017 I moved from England to Spain. Changing places naturally entails losing friends and making new ones. This book was created in 2022 soon after I found out that my close friend, the artist and printmaker, Penny Zeffertt, had died on her farm near Johannesburg. Over the past few years, places are changing in radical ways, through war, economic deprivation, and natural disasters. I wanted to explore how that is echoed in our intimate connections, how people, as clear as ink on paper, can change or disappear from our lives. Applying ink and water techniques used by South African artist Marlene Dumas, I created these portraits of twelve close friends who’ve been central to my life as colleagues, fellow artists, and close companions.
The accordion book is the gallery, the space, the dinner table, that brings together friends from different places and times in my life, and illustrates my gratitude for their closeness and support. – Shaun Levin