INTERVIEWED BY Malibongwe Tyilo IMAGES courtesy of Lyndi Sales and WHATIFTHEWORLD
Artist Lyndi Sales’s exhibition is currently showing at WHATIFTHEWORLD gallery in Cape Town. Titled No Place, it is made up of beautiful and intricate artworks that interrogate the properties of light. Inspired by actual scientific shapes, her execution brings a much-needed poetry to the rational and scientific.
Here, we chat to this renowned artist about the meaning and inspiration behind No Place.
Your work is almost always unbelievably intricate. What attracts you to this kind of practice? Where does the interest come from?
When viewing artworks I’ve always been interested in looking up close at the works and then getting a completely different visual image viewing the same piece further away. I guess I’m interested in the underlying structure of everything – be it an atom, invisible matrix such as dark matter, or in the fragile nature of things and how the building blocks of the universe are an accumulation of units that collectively form a whole.
Please tell us a bit more about the creation of your Sickeningly Sweet painting at your current exhibition at WHATIFTHEWORLD. Was it created at the gallery, or was it created in studio and combined at the gallery?
Sickeningly Sweet was specifically designed for that particular wall at WHATIFTHEWORLD. The process was physically challenging as I hand cut large pre-painted aluminium sheets with aluminium cutters. This was done mostly in my studio in Observatory and then the final composition was laid out at a friend’s warehouse where I assembled all the aluminium units into four large sections. These were then transported to the gallery and hung on the wall.
The work that makes up No Place is said to be ‘located in a scientific register.’ Please elaborate.
I continuously find myself looking towards a scientific register for inspiration when I’m researching a project. On my travels, the science centre is always my first port of call. I find most of my inspiration comes either from scientific experiments, images, graphs, diagrams, etc. I was inspired by the scientific diagrams of DNA code, which reveals itself as a code of beautiful colours. As well as satellite aerial views of our planet and microscopic images of crystals that I was able to get from the UCT engineering department. I also spent some time at Square Kilometre Array (SKA) where I was able to look at many different images of data that were collected by the staff members.
As a recurring motif in your practice, what attracts you to the idea of the rainbow?
The rainbow is evocative of Utopian notions. In this project, colour spectrum and colour theory formed an important aspect of the show and the symbolism of the rainbow was something I wanted to consider from all aspects.
What are you currently working on?
I’m working on some projects for next year. I have a solo show at Circa in Johannesburg as well as a solo exhibition in Hong Kong and Sydney.
Lastly – and very lightly – is there a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow of your dreams?
I’m not sure. I’m more interested in the illusion of the pot of gold and how people react to that. The idea of a utopian place is what’s important. The lengths we go to find it. The consequences of trying to achieve it. For me it doesn’t really exist. As you get closer to the rainbow, it shifts. It is an elusive chase really.