This exhibition brings together a remarkable body of work by an artist whose wry humour
and distinctive 2-D and 3-D graphic art defies categorisation. Work in a variety of media
- acrylic and/or ink on paper, card and fabric, as well as works made from foam, fabric and
folded card, LED sculptures and light and shadow projections - demonstrates Libedinsky’s
intriguingly eclectic output: what appears to be spontaneous wit is in fact the result of
a profound, carefully considered and irreverent understanding of life’s many absurdities.
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Libedinsky studied architecture at the Universidad de
Buenos Aires, graduating in 1967. She was particularly influenced by the British approach
to architecture, specifically in relation to the education sector. Following her degree,
Sylvia won a post-graduate scholarship to study school buildings at the Bouwcentrum in
Rotterdam. Sylvia was interested in the work of the GLC and went on to secure a position
in the Schools Division of the Architecture Department.
After working as an assistant on the plans for what was then the Baker Street Polytechnic,
Libedinsky went on to design a youth club and two primary schools in Hackney and Brixton.
Whilst working in the architecture department of the Greater London Council, Sylvia designed
foldable cardboard toys in the shape of cartoon-like animals for the toy company 345. Folding
card as a medium has remained a constant in Libedinsky’s work – this exhibition includes a
number of faces and still lifes.
During this period, Libedinsky also designed ‘MAZE’ – a puzzle game bought by ROR, the
company owned by Ringo Starr and Robin Cruikshank, as well as a giant cube game which was
used as seating at an ICA exhibition – ‘PSSHAK’ in 1972 – to illustrate the concept of modular
In the early 1970s, now with two small children, she diversified into highly tactile foam
toys, producing quirky designs for coffee cups, typewriters and cameras. These designs
were exhibited at the Frankfurt Design Fair, which led to a sizeable order from a German
wholesaler. “Sadly we couldn’t fulfil the order – we didn’t have the space nor the staff nor
the materials. We didn’t even have a name or a company. We desperately needed capital.”
With the help of an indulgent bank manager, funding was secured and Sylvia was able to
present her products to the London Design Centre under a new brand name – Marshmallow.
The LDS promoted Marshallow products (typewriters, teacups and telephones) through its
catalogue and international sales took off. With a small factory in Newman Street in London’s
West End and a new partner (Ana M. Urquijo) and promoted by production and advertising
agents, the company started to build a roster of high profile clients - Ford Tractors, Sony, Au
Printemps, Waterman Pens, Biba, Liberty, Fiorucci, as well as Bloomingdales and Bergdorf
Goodman in NY, and Seibu in Tokyo; TV shows such as the Johnny Carson Show, and
individual celebrity clients such as Eve Arnold, Peter Sellers and Allen Jones. In addition, the
company was busy designing and producing film and TV props .
43 Denmark Hill
London SE5 8RS
7th February to 1st March 2019