Cape Town
South Africa

Lynette Bester, Nerval's Net: The Happy Meal Odyssey, 2013, ribbons, steel crayfish net hoop, buoy, 200 x 60 x 60 cm

South African, b. 1978, playing from Cape Town, South Africa

Lynette Bester completed an M.A. in F.A. (Cum Laude) 2002 from the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa and has since achieved critical attention for her predominantly sculptural pieces made from everyday objects and conceptually engaging others in the production of her pieces. She has exhibited in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Brazil, Egypt and New York while also achieving notable attention for both local and international art competitions and residencies. She has actively participated in group exhibitions since her first at the Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town in 2003 including exhibiting at the Goethe Institute, Brazil, 2005, Dwayer Institute, Egypt 2008 and Invisible Dog, New York, 2011. Her work has been included in numerous critically acclaimed exhibitions at Bell-Roberts Contemporary in Cape Town between 2007 and 2009. Similarly at the AVA, Cape Town her work has also achieved critical press attention while participating in group shows from 2007 until the present. Bester also participated in group shows at Heidi Erdmann Contemporary in Cape Town in 2010. In 2012 Bester exhibited in Johannesburg at the critically acclaimed project space, Fordsburg Studio’s: Bag Factory. Bester has had three solo exhibitions in Cape Town: WHOLES CUT OUT 2002, at The Cold Room, HEART: DIMENSIONS VARIABLE 2005 at Blank Projects; and STALKING THE FAMILIAR at the AVA, 2010, all for which she received positive critical review. In 2006 Bester was a double finalist for the SASOL NEW SIGNATURES and in 2007 she was selected as a Top Ten Finalist for the ABSA L’ATELIER 2007. Bester has also been the artists of the week for Saatchi Online three times, as well as selected onto 100 curators 100 days also on Saatchi Online. Most recently Bester was a Finalist in the INTERNATIONAL CELESTE PRIZE and exhibited her work as part of the award ceremony at the Invisible Dog, New York, in November 2011. In 2013 Bester won first prize for the Hermanus Fynart Competition, sponsored by the South African National Space Agency and judged by Marilyn Martin (respected curator of the Iziko South African National Gallery) and Kirsty Cockerill. Bester has participated in the THUPELO International Workshop, 2005 and in 2008 was selected to participate in the DWAYER International Visual Arts Workshop for Women in Alexandria, Egypt creating an art work in response to objects women brought for her form all over the world. In 2009 she participated in an international collaboration in Cornwall England, and in 2013 was participated in a one month long residency at 18th Street, Santa Monica, California for which she was selected by the Africa Centre. Lynette Bester has been active in organizations for the arts sector as well as within tertiary education for over a decade and is currently a lecturer and Head of Department of Theory as well as Fine Art at the The Ruth Prowse School of Art, Woodstock, Cape Town where she has been since 2004. She has also been a part time lecturer in Theory and Discourse at Michaelis, University of Cape Town in 2005 and mixed-media lecturer at Sivuyile College, Gugulethu 2002.

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Thoughts on the Telephone process

Nerval's Net: The Happy Meal Odyssey was made in response to a work by another artist, Ramin Parvin from Iran as part of the TELEPHONE project which seeks to connect artists, writers, performers from across the world through an endless chain of creative inspiration. Looking at the threads of connection present in Parvin's work Bester considered the function of thread as well as the sourcing of thread. Bester learned knotting particular to netting from a woman at a local netting factory while at the same time putting a call out for the contribution of threads, rope and ribbon. Ribbons were the overwhelming contribution and predominantly of the variety imported from China. Bester hand knitted the crayfish net using the traditional method that she had learned from the ribbons, testimony to the collective input. One of the yellow ribbons reads "happy meal' with small illustrations of fish and chicken drum sticks in pink. The ribbons come in a variety of colours, colour combinations and embellishments. Gergard de Nerval, the Surrealist poet, had a lobster( possibly a crayfish) called Thibault, that he according to urban legend walked on the end of a blue ribbon. 'To walk the lobster', the activity with which he is associated, also possibly refers to his irreverent habit of eating tit-bits off other people's plates of food. In Nerval's Net: The Happy Meal Odyssey the artist explores the correlation between this habit, the so-called 'happy meal', miss-appropriation of fishing practices, ribbons and the Surrealist imagination of Nerval, and above all - the journey, perhaps the conceptual journey of ideas along the lines of TELEPHONE.

Installation by Ramin Parvin