By The Toomey Tourell Gallery

Dual nature or fantastic illusions, the stagings of the South African Lyndi Sales transports us. Three dimensional works are created within the world of paper. Her work reminds one of the contained world of puppet theatre, her huge lace works supported only with needles. The form is most often close to that of a monumental drawing, where meticulously cut paper left behind is light and the matter removed reveals a subtle play of shadows adds to the discourse. Between factual reality and a dream-like universe, each work carries a story, where the symbolic element serves to transcend.

Starting from a great personal bereavement where the highly improbable became tragic reality, Lyndi Sales explores the notions of risk and chance in order to show the impermanence and transitory nature of human existence. Mixing conceptualism and cartographically precise figuration, the artist appropriates and dissects the factual and sensorial aspects of a planecrash: the ‘Helderberg’, where 159 people lost their lives in the Indian Ocean in 1987.

Much as flying is often considered an act of freedom, the flight which lies at the heart of Lyndi Sales’ work ended in an abyssal nightmare. Yet, the preoccupation of the artist is neither apocalyptic nor univocal but rather testifies to a vision where the personal gives way to a more universal questioning, or a powerful display of fatality and fragility. Far from all sentimental temptation, Sales’ universe captivates with its magnificence and undeniable beauty, revealing its manifold meanings where the gentle and poetic coexists with the cruel and fearsome.

“159/295”, a splendid Phoenix about to fly, reveals its composition after closer examination: 159 kites in shapes taken from heraldic, religious iconography are suspended by red threads. On their surface holy cards, playing cards and Chinese jos paper make reference to the cultural origins of the 159 people on board the South African Airlines flight 295. This work alludes to the commemorative ceremonies in Chinese tradition where kites are flown to symbolize the languid thoughts of the living for those they mourn. Following this tradition, the kite flies off with sorrow whilst happiness and good omens come to replace grief.

This group of works is created mainly from recycled materials (paper, rubber). Their inherent fragility underlines the subject of the works, while their original function carrying meaning on into the work as well. Thus, “Shatter” is made up of 159 boarding passes glued together to create the drawing of a shattered window.

Lungs meticulously cut into the plastic of a safety jacket entitled “How long can you hold your breath?” bring frightful eloquence to the notion of security. In transit proposes a highly moving voyage between sky and depths; the result of an encounter between great freedom and rare mastery leading to a wide panoply of emotions and thoughts.

by the Toomey Tourell Gallery

See Also: The Exhibition | Artist’s Statement