Dark Waves New works at Marlborough Contemporary, London

I’ve watched too many times Jeremiah Johnson – the story of a deserter, a man who exchanges a country busy with war for the peaceful and extraordinary wilderness. Confronted with the task of surviving Captain Johnson learns that isolation is the best way to succeed. In silence he lives; language is of no use to him. In this sense Jeremiah Johnson could be the story of a romantic, or better to say, the story of an American romantic.

The amount of risk involved in the trajectory is what makes a journey different than another. There are only 90 miles between Cuba and Florida. But these 90 miles are different from many others. Salt water and sun, sharks and the Gulf Stream, make them unique. It is the first time that I have written about these 90 miles. It feels like I shouldn’t, but I have to.

After seven days navigating without orientation all my sweet water reserves were gone. During the day the sun was so intense that at night my eyes saw no moon, no stars, only darkness. The sea at night looked like a black marble floor, like a fancy ballroom but with no dancers. Touching my left hand with my right hand was the only way I found to feel some company. What did I leave behind? Land. What did I have in front? Only water. Fortunately dreamers don’t need land, but water wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. The constant waves finally disoriented me and after the third day they forced me to believe that there was no end and no beginning, just rhythm. I counted too many waves. Numbers are endless as waves.

‘Where are you going, Captain Johnson?’ He replied, ‘I don’t know.’

Marlborough Contemporary
6 Albemarle Street
London W1S 4BY
+44 (0)20 7629 5161
photos: ©Francis Ware