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Cloud Sculptures is one of an occasional series of works within Terry Flaxton’s Personal Fictions where the overriding influence is from Jorge Luis Borges' fantastical literature that sought to shed light on the every day through extraordinary and impossible tales. The work also references JG Ballard's short story Cloud Sculptors of Coral D, which is about the end of the world, when humanity has all but lost its reason to stay alive. In his story, those that still lived had become decadent and invented fragile pastimes to fill their time - they worked on their art above a long deceased coral reef that had calcified in a desert, millennia before.
In Flaxton’s Cloud Sculptures Over the Atacama Desert he reimagines their pastimes in a more solid way: Gone is the ephemerality of the original because we are in a different time – a time of pandemic – and here Flaxton seeks to give shape and form for the clouds that are bold and monolithic. In Flaxton’s imagined world the sculptors seed the clouds with solidifying agents that force them into shapes which reflect the torn and fearful of the 2020 pandemic.