Liezel Luneburg

My body of work portrays a life-long fascination with circles and curves as well as a personal struggle with and acknowledgement of imperfection. It also represents beauty as a means to convey certain ideas and messages.  

I cannot remember a time when I was not acutely aware of and attracted to circles and curves. Humans are not only surrounded by circular designs in man-made structures and nature, but our souls exist within bodies compiled of curves. And who could imagine the soul as being square? Human life starts with a round egg cell and ends when the circle of live is completed, featuring many circles and cycles in between.  

Think of Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous Vitruvian Man in which he scientifically applies Roman architect Vitruvius’s theories to artfully illustrate the navel as the centre of the human body – when a circle is drawn with the navel as the axis point, it encompasses both outstretched arms and legs. Yes, there is also a square involved and the science and symbolism behind the sketch is much more intricate than presented by a circle – geometry plays a huge role in the illustration and accompanied text. And, strictly speaking, circles will not be able to exist without squares. But I must admit that the body perfectly fitting inside the circle speaks to my innermost being much louder than the square.  

Apart from the wonder of our curvaceous bodies, we are surrounded by circles, curves and geometry in both the microscopic and larger cosmos. The most vividly outspoken evidence of this is probably illustrated by the golden ratio which is sometimes called “nature’s divine blueprint”. The golden ratio is directly tied to a numerical pattern known as the Fibonacci sequence. When the golden ratio is applied as a growth factor, a logarithmic spiral known as a golden spiral is found. It is thus no wonder that I should life out my artistic whims by drawing in circles.

I call my drawings “mandalas”. The Tibetan word for “mandala” means “that which encircles a centre”. A centre in this context symbolises meaning and that which encircles it is a representation of the meaning. Thus, a mandala is in its simplest form a depiction of the deeper meaning it represents. It is an object of balance and harmony and creating one brings inner peace and perspective on difficult issues. 

My artworks do not necessarily revolve round a centre on paper, but rather a conceptual centre which expresses my personal emotions, thoughts, desires and intuitions at a specific moment. It also depicts the way in which I perceive the world and comments on both the imperfections and the beautiful.

Thus, each artwork portrays a time of meditation and reflection.

I have for many years struggled with the divide between perfection and imperfection and the fact that the connection between the two has been shattered, possibly after the fall of man. By nature and because of certain personality traits I place immense pressure on myself to pursue excellence in all undertakings. The detailed, fine drawings have taught me to sometimes overlook imperfections and to adjust to an imperfect world, which in itself could be perceived as perfect in its imperfections. I could hardly dispose of an artwork I have spent many hours and days on because of a single, nearly imperceivable imperfection hidden within the fine detail of an intrinsic design!

Beauty plays a huge role in my body of work. 

Over the past decades I have been suffering from dysthymia or persistent depressive disorder, which leads to episodes of severe loss of interest in life, feelings of hopelessness and angst, and extreme fatigue. One of the coping mechanisms I have developed is to compel myself to focus on beauty by constantly searching for and recognising beautiful things, including ideas and abstract concepts. It is interesting to note that beauty is rarely recognised or portrayed in conceptual art and that many contemporary artworks create feelings of unease, angst and even disgust. Notwithstanding this fact, many of my own artworks seek to portray difficult and ugly situations, for instance death, through a different lens by identifying snippets of beauty in a seemingly never-ending, dark space.  

The plant artworks consist of live succulents planted in a growth medium firmly attached to a round frame. 

Through the years I have cultivated an extensive garden featuring hundreds of succulents and all the plants used in the artworks have been harvested from my garden. I have also planned and constructed a beautiful succulent labyrinth, which, in itself, portrays an interactive mandala in a peaceful setting.  

I employ succulents as a medium for different reasons.

Succulents are drought resistant and I experience them as content in all circumstances. These feisty little plants also grow from cuttings, sprouting roots wherever they are planted and their main objective is to store water and procreate. This symbolises life in abundance, hope for the future and spirited resilience and durability. These are all traits we need in order to survive in modern times amid human and environmental crisis and hardship. It also accentuates the fact that nature has the ability to repair itself and will inhabit the earth long after humans have destroyed themselves in the worst, most painful ways imaginable.    

Liezel Luneburg

Selected Works

The latest work from this artist.

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