Non-Sterile: a paper art exhibition

Non-Sterile exhibition: image from Paper Dolls

Non-Sterile exhibition: image from Paper Dolls

 Setting up an exhibition in a grade I listed building is actually a big challenge, and I experienced it during the long days and nights before the big opening night on the 6th of March.

Non-sterile: setting up

Non-sterile: setting up

Non-sterile: setting up

Non-sterile: setting up

The original building could not be altered in any of its elements, not even a nail, so we had to create a hanging system that would use the preexisting structure.

Some of the brightest minds living in London were involved in the hanging of the frames: we had to brush up our feeble memories of trigonometry back from school to create a intricate system of fishing wire fixed to unreachable points.

non sterile setting up3

The lighting system was calculated and created especially for the site by a very patient and motivated soul that contributed immensely to the visual success of the show.

And when all the work was done, the frames were hung and the lights were up, then the space itself became a piece of its own, and everything made finally sense.

With great happiness I could finally share my work with everybody on the opening night.


Here is the text written for the press release:

In her latest series of works, Linda Toigo presents ‘Non-Sterile’, a site-specific installation at St John on Bethnal Green.

Conventionally a place of ritual and contemplation, Toigo situates her works in the belfry of a church, ultimately disrupting the formality of the environment and revealing a sacrificial offering of traditional beauty.

Armed with a non-sterile scalpel blade, the paper artist carves through the sterile glossy imagery of perfection represented in magazines to reveal the fast-paced ephemeral nature of beauty. Meticulously excavating crowded layers, she singles out individual images suspended in time to reveal a complex interplay of light and darkness.

The multitude of a magazine’s smiling lips, bright eyes and translucent limbs is exposed in ‘Vanity Fear’, an unsettling series of portraits that hang in the solemn space. Alongside this, ‘Paper Dolls’ deploys an army of unattainable sleek feminine flawlessness that, rising from carved pages of Vogue’s, casts dark shadows on the surroundings.

Combined, the works cut away at the idealisation of beauty and reveal a tension between the overexposure of perfection with the ritualistic dissection of the glossy image.



After graduating in Architecture, Linda Toigo spent three years honing her skills, working as an urban planner in Milan. In 2009 she decided to change her scale of intervention and moved to London to study Graphic Design at LCC.

There, she fed her curiosity for book design and book structures, a leitmotif that kept developing throughout the years. Soon after she discovered the controversial practice of creation through book destruction. Ever since then Toigo has approached alteration as a celebration of books, paying homage to their volumetric qualities and the cultural value inscribed within their pages. Her later works moved on from antique tomes to encompass a variety of non-literary publications, ranging from DIY manuals to fashion magazines. By doing so, she explores the destruction of printed matter whose functional value precedes its material quality.

This destructive act, performed with an arsenal of scalpel blades, fire, wire and paints, alters existing visual and written material, extracting it from its original context and endowing it with new meanings. What we are left with is an assemblage of layers adding dark, ironic and often surreal themes for the viewer to discover.


NON-STERILE works on magazines by Linda Toigo

6 MARCH – 3 APRIL 2014

The Belfry of St. John on Bethnal Green

200 Cambridge Heath Road, London E2 9PA

part of Whitechapel First Thursday:

6th March 6-9 pm opening event

3rd April 6-9 pm closing event

opening times:

Thursdays 6-9 pm / Saturdays 2-6 pm

and by appointment


One comment

  1. […] exhibition will take place in East London next month: here are all the details about […]

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