Opening words by Mr Freddy Denaës

Travel Plans

Opening words by Mr Freddy Denaës, publisher, film producer and longtime follower of Mr Silverthorne, recited at the opening of Travel Plans at the Noorderlicht Photo gallery, May 27th, 2011


“To begin, I’ll ask you to forgive my English: I was in school in France, it’s not the better place to learn foreign languages!
 
For the media, today, Jeffrey is probably not the most important US citizen born in Honolulu. Another one is actually enjoying some holidays in Deauville with his club of the G8 (Barack Obama, red). But the one who interests us is here in Groningen.
 
The very first time I met Jeffrey, he was not there. Strange meeting... In fact, I first met his work, at the gallery VU' where Christian Caujolle showed me a few series he had brought from America. I pretend to be a fine knower of contemporary photography, and a real collector too, but I did not know Jeffrey’s work till that day in Christian’s office. Maybe a few pictures, almost thirty years before, in the magazine Creatis, but I must admit I had forgotten it.
This day at VU', at the end of 2007, was a shock. The visual strength of it hanged on my glance. It was essentially pictures from the mortuary, and it made me think to this poem of Arthur Rimbaud, The sleeper in the valley*: the story of a soldier, we think he’s sleeping on the grass, peacefully, but in fact he is dead. I feel the same story, the same poetry, in Jeffrey’s work: his portraits in the mortuary show people of whom we can think, in a first look, that they are peacefully sleeping. But they are dead.
Then I discovered others works by Jeffrey. Again it was a shock! He is not a photographer. I mean: not only. He crosses art disciplines to construct a very personal work, between poetry, painting, collage... He makes an appeal to all senses and offers many entrance doors for the spectator.
In this show, he presents different kinds of works, which are invitations to come back to his work often: don’t believe you know Jeffrey’s work after this show, the door is open, follow him in his travel plans, year after year. He is still going on, so must we.
 
But about this show, as in each great gallery: come back, choose one piece or another, and travel in it.
 
Have a nice trip.”
 
 

* THE SLEEPER IN THE VALLEY
by Arthur Rimbaud

It’s a green hollow, where a river is singing
Crazily hanging on the grasses rags
Of silver; where the sun, from the proud mountain,
Is shinning: it’s a little valley bubbling with sunlight.

A young soldier, his mouth open, his head bare,
And the nape of his neck bathing in cool blue watercress,
Is sleeping; he is stretched out on the grass, under the skies,
Pale in his green bed where the light falls like rain.

Feet in the gladiolas, he is sleeping. Smiling like
A sick child would smile, he takes a nap:
Nature, rock him warmly: he is cold.


Fragrances do not make his nostrils quiver;
He sleeps in the sun, hand on the breast,
Peacefully. He has two red holes in his right side.