FNB Art Joburg
Sandton Convention
Centre, Johannesburg,
South Africa

Exhibition of Interest

How To Eat The Sun and The Moon

with Laura Lima

Mythology often serves as a form of cosmogony, depicting the origins and structure of the universe. Deriving from the Greek words “kosmos” (world or universe) and “gonia” (origin), cosmogony references theories of origin and evolution. In Laura Lima’s exhibition “How To Eat The Sun and The Moon” at Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg, the artist creates new worlds while returning to ancient stories. She does this with wonderfully porous and draping forms.

Featuring a series of new, large-scale textile pieces, “How To Eat The Sun and The Moon” draws inspiration from Brazilian folklore and spiritual imaginaries, particularly those from the countryside where Lima grew up. This connection to her cultural roots is evident in the lyrical nature of the exhibition’s title, speaking to cosmogonies that reflect themselves through tradition and transformation. How could one conceive of reaching and eating the sun and the moon? Perhaps mythology becomes a way of transmitting and preserving ideas, shaping cultural identity and providing a framework for understanding the universe and humanity’s place within it. Like the body of work presented in the exhibition, this framework encompasses the physical creation of the universe and the spiritual and cultural dimensions of existence.

Lima weaves complex narratives, using textiles as a medium of expression. The large-scale textile pieces suspended in space — they have no front and a back, or rather, the front and the back are interchangeable — create a dynamic dialogue with the gallery setting and challenge the viewer’s experience of space. They evoke an awareness of (and demand attention to) negative space. Lima encourages viewers to pause, move around, and activate the performative energy that the show commands through the porosity of each work created by gaps in the woven structure. This approach aligns with the artist’s interest in inviting organic matter, degradation, and the passage of time as agents in her works’ formation and existence. Both time and material are worn.

Made from cotton threads dyed with natural pigments and wire, often with earthy shades of brown and orange, the works evoke a sense of grounding and connection to the land, echoing themes of nature and cultural heritage central to Lima’s practice. Lima’s forms, which are densely packed, are layered, both literally and abstractly. There is a sense of depth, drawing viewers into a world where materiality and storytelling intertwine. Her work recalls the practices of El Anatsui and Ernesto Neto. For these artists, textiles offer artists a wide range of possibilities in terms of texture, colour, and form that can be easily manipulated and combined with other materials. This allows them to experiment and push the boundaries of traditional artistic practices. This sense of tactility offers a sense of physicality that is often lacking in new art forms. Of course, the material has cultural significance, too, often associated with craft traditions and domesticity. By engaging these histories, Lima challenges them while incorporating them into her work.

“How To Eat The Sun and The Moon” masterfully combines storytelling potential with exciting forms in unexpected ways. She creates a captivating and thought-provoking world, offering a perspective on the complexities of the human experience. The works are whole and worn, integrating the universe’s physical and metaphysical aspects. They emphasise the interconnectedness of materials, forms, and narrative.

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