INTO THE VALLEY OF THE PAPER DOLLS (by Isabelle Held)

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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.

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