Paper Dolls flirting with their shadows

Linda Toigo, Paper Dolls, 2014

Linda Toigo, Paper Dolls, 2014

In November 2012 I had the chance to pass by St. John on Bethnal Green church where the Portuguese artist Pedro Pires  was showing his work in Darkness, an exhibition “about the relationships between light and darkness, mechanisms, cameras and lenses”.

Intrigued by Pires’ use of darkness as a pure and poetic opportunity to celebrate light, and challenged by the limits and possibilities that the bell-tower of a grade 1 listed building could offer as a location for a show, I contacted the organization and asked to be part of their program of exhibitions.

Non-Sterile exhibition: image from Paper Dolls

Non-Sterile exhibition: image from Paper Dolls

More than year later, here I am, (almost) ready to open my first solo show: Non-Sterile.

Together with Vanity Fear, the series of portraits from magazines I have recently written about, the display will feature Paper Dolls, a piece made especially for the show that stages a silent procession of women cut out from the pages of Vogue magazines.

This work takes its primary inspiration from an installation displayed at the Barbican Centre last year: Geoffrey Farmer’s The Surgeon and the Photographer.

Geoffrey Farmer, The Surgeon and the Photographer

Geoffrey Farmer, The Surgeon and the Photographer (ph: Alessandro Quisi)

There, the Canadian artist arranged a multitude of puppet-like figures, deep two-dimensional collages of cut out images from old books and magazines. Even though accumulation had a relevant role in the stunning effect of the installation, the cure taken to craft and distinguish every single character, was the real highlight and strenght of the exhibition.

Linda Toigo, Paper Dolls, work in progress

Linda Toigo, Paper Dolls, work in progress

The female figures showed in my work stand up from the pages of the magazines without any need of alteration from the original images: the women, alienated from the context of the photos that would justify their eccentric poses, but still anchored to the glossy paper, find themselves involved, together with their silent colleagues, in an unsettling parade of queerness.

Linda Toigo, Paper Dolls, 2014

Linda Toigo, Paper Dolls, 2014

Linda Toigo, Paper Dolls, 2014

Linda Toigo, Paper Dolls, 2014

Their collocation in the dark belfry of a church suggests the idea of a sacrificial march towards an unknown direction, and their shadows on the stained walls of the old building amplify and distort the ideal of beauty that they are bearing.

The exhibition will take place in East London next month: here are all the details about it.

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