Entitled ‘SWALLOW’, Luan Nel’s most recent body of work presents the viewer with a ‘flock’ of prints of his watercolour birds. Painted with a lightness and brevity of hand, multiple impressionistic glimpses of the birds placed in organic rhythm conjure the idea of movement across space. This is further encouraged by the effective and rather quirky use of electric fans which cause the paper to literally flap in the breeze. The formal play of these elements in the work creates a graceful presentation suggestive of the lift and fall of wings of swallows in the configuration of their migratory flight. Conceptually the visual vocabulary and symbolic potential of the natural world is not a new departure point for Luan Nel. In his previous exhibition, ’Aviary’, the rituals and habits of birds allude to our own and we are nudged towards this understanding through his personalised titles. Here the migratory patterns of swallows can become a way of speaking about human migration as a condition of contemporary life. However, on a different scale the imagery of these penguinsuited birds and the dance they perform can subtly refer to more intimate patterns of social ritual.
Installation view of SWALLOWS:
‘Seisoen’ Lithograph, edition of 20, 82.5cm x 112cm (framed):
Installation view of original watercolours for SWALLOWS:
‘Verdwyn‘ & ‘They left without saying a word’, Original watercolours, 37cm x 49cm (framed);
‘Voltar’ & ‘Ontsnap’, Original watercolours, 37cm x 49cm (framed);