Sunday, June 05, 2005

Where is my Nemesis?

I don’t know if it was in Cavemen (1981) starring Ringo Starr (yes former Beatle), or History of the World part 1 (1981) by Mel Brooks that after describing the first artist, then obviously introduces the first art critic, the artist’s nemesis; a caveman on top of a rock pees on the paintings.

That kind of criticism in Malta does not exist; our art critics are usually full of praise. Personally, I have never read any articles that beat the hell out of an artist. In this country no one dares to make enemies, so no one offends anyone. But why should anyone be offended? Why do we take everything so personally?

What I even find more disturbing is the fact that arts journalism is nearly non existent. For my exhibition all newspapers were contacted and most of them published something but none published their own stuff. All that was published was material that the three artists together with write-ups from Ganna were prepared for the occasion. Some were not even capable to reproduce correctly the material we supplied. Quite a few journalists were invited for the opening night, none turned up. Ok, maybe it was not worth the hassle, you’d say, but other fellow artist complain of the same thing. (For those of you interested have a look at the Artissa Forum.)

So where can we start? I don’t know. Being a painter myself maybe I am too biased to offer good criticism, my perspective may be too limited. But there again even limited views are better than nothing. What I have learnt so far is the following;

I am my own best (and worst) critic. Not everyone likes my work. Some people have ulterior motives when they express their views (though not necessarily bad). Not all people are honest and when they are they are usually apologetic. None of my work is either all good or all bad and my own tastes are very different from the public’s.

At least, exhibiting my work was a learning experience.