A radiographer by profession, it was during her psychiatric internment that Lindsay Caldicott began to produce her collages of a myriad of duplicated fragments, carved with a scalpel and assembled with surgical precision. Her fractal universe is of a chromatic harmony ranging from grey to blood colors and from golden brown nuances to flesh color. Shown for the first time in 2018 by the gallery, four years after her death, the artist’s work is now part of the musée français de la photographie and several collections: the Fondation Francès, abcd/Bruno Decharme (France), and Treger-Saint Silvestre (Portugal).
Lindsay Caldicott, born in Leicester in 1954, was a technician in therapeutic radiography, trained since the age of 16 (in 1970) at the Leicester Royal Infirmary, where she stayed for four years, then, after a one-year stint in a kibbutz in Israel, working at the radiography unit of a hospital in the Netherlands (Leiden) in Amsterdam from 1978 to 1983, then again in Amsterdam, after her fine arts degree, from 1988 to 1990. From 1985 to 87 she studied at the Middlesex Polytechnic Fine Arts BA (first class degree).
Having been abused as a child, she suffered from serious psychological problems, which she managed to cope with until a more serious episode in 1990, which forced her to leave her job in Holland and return home to Leicester, at the age of 34. She spent most of the next 24 years in a psychiatric ward, until her suicide in 2014, after several attempts. She was diagnosed with manic depression and schizophrenia, suffering from a multiple personality disorder (dissociative disorder of identity) and obsessive compulsive disorder; she also suffered from alcohol addiction.
It was during her psychiatric hospitalization that this broken figure was able to reassemble the dregs of her past and achieve her greatest work. This effort was aimed at creating a higher order from the smallest hints of her existence, or simply to make peace with them. The resulting collages are principally constructed from myriad X-ray fragments, cut with a scalpel and assembled with surgical precision into geometric forms composed from obsessively repeating shapes, interspersed by aesthetic accidents, that appear both ordered and chaotic. Lindsay Caldicott’s fractal universe is of a chromatic harmony that cannot be denied, the colors ranging from grey to blood red and from bronze to the color of flesh, a clear representation of the artist’s prima materia. Ocassionally, architectural details or geometric elements contribute to the vertigo of her forms.
Preface : Marc Lenot
Foreword : Christian Berst
Catalog published to mark the exhibition Lindsay Caldicott: x ray memories, from October 13th to November 24th, 2018.