By Sarah Khan

Within the works currently presented by Lyndi Sales under the title Astronomical Seeing graphical-geometrical forms prevail: hexagons and diamonds, spirals, nets, satellite-like and star-shaped figures. These were laser cut from various types of paper - printed cartons, paper painted with water color, acrylic or markers, from holographic paper and newspaper. These figures, although they are displayed by Sales on two-dimensional surfaces, are more sculptural than graphic in their aspect. They appear three-dimensional due to the different heights at which they hang when attached to their paper background with pins [Multiple Realm].

And yet, it is the genre of graphics to which Sales is in fact attached. Still, not much remains of her naturalistic and representational engravings of previous years. For some time now, a platonic abstraction determines the formal aspect of her work, only occasionally replaced by objects that retrieve the concept of the ready-made, such as the 2008 life jackets, made in relation to the so-called_Helderberg-Crash_, a plane crash occurring at 11/28/1987 on South African Airline flight 295 off the coast of Mauritius, killing 159 passengers.

Although abstract, Sales’s works are concrete. They move between de- and constructivist tendencies and are able to transport micro- and macrocosmic contents.

The works which Sales presents under the title ASTRONOMICAL SEEING can – as is typical for her work – be read objectively and subjectively at the same time. They contain biographic and personal psychological elements as well as global-political and universal ones, depending both on who perceives them and on the background information available where they are read. Just as the works which Sales created during her questioning of the so-called Helderberg-Crash, which only revealed the more intimate details of her biographical drama to insiders, viewers of the works presented under the title ASTRONOMICAL SEEING might only be able to perceive shapes such as hexagons, utopian landscapes, nets or satellites that appear to one as if in a kind of vision or dream. The starting point for her new works was in fact an astigmatism in her right eye, a temporary aberration, an optical fuzziness equivalent in its effect to ASTRONOMICAL SEEING, to a the blur that occurs when looking at objects far off in the universe. An astigmatism causes a blurred or distorted picture just as when the light of a star or planet entering earth’s atmosphere is broken and appears blurred or smeared to the naked eye. In Sales’ works, a net cut out of holographic paper spreads out in three-dimensional space, its edges seeming to completely dissolve depending on how the light hits its contours. Astronomical seeing. In contrast to this work, DISTORTED VIEW or TEMPORARY BLINDNESS relate to Sales’s astigmatism, but these works appear respectively illusionistic and visionary. The figures of these works lead out from undefined centers and radiate irregularly across the room. In contrast, SATELLITE TELESCOPE, the satellite-shaped work MOER DRONK, cut out of newspaper, or UTOPIAN LANDSCAPE contain macrocosmic contents by alluding to controversial, yet conditional notions such as unpredictability and fortune, eternity, timelessness and transience. But works like these also in general refer to the uncertain future of the human species in the 21st century, as a result of its growing technological capabilities. Sales remarks:

“Microcosms and macrocosms become sites of unease but also act as locations where projections of Utopian notions are imagined. [ …] Stargazing and the belief in other dimensions become a form of escape, where looking out into the vastness of the universe acts as a license for the imaginary, deeming the here and now minuscule and insignificant.”

Only rarely does Sales cut her papers manually thesedays. Instead, she uses a laser technique, to which she was introduced 6 years ago while travelling through China. It is peculiar to this technique that the paper will burn somewhat unpredictably. Sales notes:

“The laser burns a cut line into the paper or rubber. [ …] The technique is unpredictable and involves cutting paper, rubber, material without burning it too much, but often the paper goes up inflames. This can sometimes work to my advantage as I like the aspect of chance that plays out in some of the works. [ …] I am intrigued at how the majority of the initial work is cut away as negative space but that what remains is often just a fine filigree of the initial artwork. I also like the mystery in what is randomly selected to remain.”

Techniques, media and topics build up an entity in Sales’s works. They demonstrate not only by means of the everyday, sometimes found objects used, why Sales’s works are relevant to the 21st century, why they are in accordance with our time.

by Sarah Khan, gallerist Sarah Khan Contemporary Art

See Also: The Exhibition | Download Catalogue