Best known to most for his kiddie-friendly illustration work, a new London exhibition celebrates Oliver Jeffers' sculptural and collage work created over the past 10 years.
Showing around 50 pieces, the show, entitled Observations on Modern Life, deals with the “Wild West of future living,” according to the Lazinc gallery exhibiting the work.
“It is a great and confusing time to be on earth,” says Jeffers. “Life has never been safer and more pleasant, historically speaking, however with increasingly efficient ways of travelling and communicating—the more anyone gets done, the busier they seem to be. With the ability to hear from anyone anywhere about anything, humans are somehow not clearer in their thoughts and actions, but rather more distracted.”
Collage, then, feels like a fitting medium to attempt to grapple with this ongoing noise. In typical Jeffers style, he chooses to negotiate these big issues with humour and playfulness to counterbalance the poignancy.
Among the pieces on show are Jeffers’ Disaster Series, which reacts to “found land and seascapes” by “completing” them through deft additions to the scenes.
“Knowing where I am in relation to other things has always been fascinating to me,” Jeffers adds. “I suppose I’ve been blessed with an innate sense of direction, and a curiosity to know my place. In recent years I have started taking political motivations for how maps have been drawn, and turning them on their head, using the visual language of cartography as a means to make another social commentary.
“By making environmental, apolitical and sometimes humorous comments on maps and globes, I have been addressing issues I feel strongly about regarding how random maps are in the first place, how arbitrary the carving up of things and drawing of borders are.”
Take that, Brexit.
Oliver Jeffers: Observations on Modern Life runs until 15 May 2019 at Lazinc, London.