Differing in response to one’s position or state of mind, Sally Kindberg’s paintings in ‘QUEEN AUBERGINE’ can and will be read in a multitude of ways. We are invited into the artworks via portals of familiar imagery, yet quickly deceived by what we subconsciously think is true of that object, form, or person. One is always informed by a pre-determined bias, Kindberg swiftly unsettles all of our assumptions.
Kindberg’s paintings are rendered to a computerised, machine like finish. They leave little unrealised yet pose profound, hypothetical questions. Kindberg’s use of light further blurs the ever-undetectable difference between on and off-screen. The line between digital and physical is as fine as the one between realistic and ‘the real.’ One’s sensory tools can no longer distinguish such difference, so what do we rely on to guide us toward truth or more simply, contentment with not knowing?
The subjects of Kindberg’s paintings imitate technologies; operating within an indiscernible realm outside of human life. Her painterly construction of these forms is liberal. Brush strokes are bold and dynamic; the artist sculpts mechanical shells. They appear like dismembered parts of a heavyweight machine, yet simultaneously hold the lightness of a balloon, inflated with nothing but air. Historically, representations of bodily fragmentation and dismemberment were a form of surrealist cultural practice. Kindberg’s compositions are often limited to a close-up frame; it is therefore unbeknownst to us whether these parts are attached to an extended whole. Yet her subjects, isolated from an entirety maintain autonomy. They demonstrate a pulse and keep afloat via a throbbing technological charge. Where they lack viscerally, they uphold richness in supernatural agency.
‘Elastic Podium’ (2020) exhibits such charge. The cyborg like subject (or subjects) radiate florescent light as though swollen with static energy. The forms are elevated and important, standing victorious on a podium. I am reminded of Marcel Duchamp’s modernist painting ‘Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2’ from 1912. A mechanical instrument acts upon the passive body and imposes descent. Both Duchamp and Kindberg’s paintings speak to futurism and the vigour of motorised speed. Where they differ is in their surface dimension, there is flatness to Duchamp’s nude which Kindberg rejects. Instead, ‘Elastic Podium’ and the paintings of ‘QUEEN AUBERGINE’ revel in the depth of oil paint and celebrate the higher qualities of the irrational, unconscious mind.
Is the resurgence in surrealist imagery and artwork a consequence of the fear, uncertainty and misinformation that floods this moment? Does one choose fiction over fact amid concern around, and mistrust of authority? Today I am resistant to ambiguity and looking for concrete truths, yet tomorrow I maybe quick to relinquish this hope and succumb to the mystery. Ultimately, only the inexplicable image counts, as all is mystery in this reality.