Friday, November 25, 2011

Artibus 026

Painting, n. The art of protecting flat surfaces from the weather and exposing them to the critic. -  Ambrose Pierce, The Devil's Dictionary

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ġmiel il-Ħrafa - Prints

Ix-Xebba tal-Ġmiel
Following the success of the Ġmiel il-Ħrafa exhibition last May/June, the collection of paintings is now also available in a signed and numbered limited edition prints. This collection of giclées is based on the original paintings of Ġmiel il-Ħrafa, a collection of works based on old Maltese folk tales and fables. This series is printed on Canon smooth art paper 225GSM, limited to 50 in number, signed and mounted on a 40x50cm mount. Each print is given with its own certificate of authenticity which includes the quotation from the original fable by the appropriate writer. Prints are being sold at €45 each.

To view the whole collection, please visit HERE

For further information please contact me HERE

Monday, November 21, 2011

Plans for 2012

This time of year, every year, I would be making sure that my plans for next 12 months are pretty much settled. Its not easy but when you are dealing with exhibition spaces and /or art galleries you have to. Most galleries have the coming few months, if not year or two, booked. So late bookings are not an option. Obviously you cannot have everything planned. Most things have to be decided at a much closer date to the actual event but at least the big stuff is decided.

So, my main events for the next year or so will be a solo exhibition of works in ink at  Capo Tavola that will open in a few days. Another solo exhibition at Gallery Pi in April 2012 and, as I already announced in an earlier post, a solo exhibition in London during the first half of October 2012.

Ink is a medium I find hard to abandon and I find myself revisiting quite often. The spontaneity, the suddenness, the working with 'mistakes' are few of the things that keep me coming back to ink. Hopefull my latest works tha I will exhibit at Capo Tavola will be well received.

The exhibition at Gallery Pi will be something completely new. These last few months I have been experimenting with a number of different media and working with different materials. A more three-dimensional kind of work is emerging, some things more conceptual than others. Gallery Pi would is the ideal place for such a collection.

For the exhibition in London, I am still at the planning stage. I am still working on a theme and researching my approach. But some ideas are already emerging. The city as a place of human interaction is a topic I would gladly explore. In these uncertain times, aiming the spotlight over human behaviour in these large mechanical containers we call cities might be interesting. Especially for someone like me who does not live in a big city like London. Now we'll see, there is still time.

There were another two projects that I wanted to work on but they depend on other factors. One is a collaborative project with a couple of other artists and the other is a retrospective exhibition by Bertu! my cartoonist alter ego. Both have to happen, if not in 2012, early 2013.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Grand Harbour from Isla

Grand Harbour from Isla - 180x80cm - mixed media

This piece was commissioned by Amicorp Malta Limited, Ta Xbiex. It is now hanging in their boardroom . 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

638 Kilo Tanz ist Kunst

Maura Moralesin Ella - photo Gorka Bravo

It's been over a week since I attended 638 Kilo Tanz in Essen. It was just one incredible experience, 5 days of pure artistic bliss. I have always found dance as a good source of inspiration  in my work and my involvement in Argentine Tango made things worse (or better). This is nothing new. Human movement has always been a constant source of artistic inspiration and dance in particular has always attracted visual artists. Take Degas for example, I love his ballerinas, and what about Toulouse Lautrec's cancan dancers? Just brilliant! A source of inspiration that is still alive and can easily be found in works of contemporary artist like Rosemary Butcher

Boglarka Börcsök in Discounts - photo Gorka Bravo

So, being in Essen, in close proximity to a number of highly creative people whose main artistic language is human movement was just overwhelming. And it was not only about movement but also about personalities. During rehearsals, during breakfast or breaks you can easily see the other side of these artists and I could not but realise how similar our work is, we just chose a different language. There was a general feeling that the festival was proposed by artists and belonged to the artists, and its true. The way the organisers take care of their public, the way they nurture the relationship between themselves, the public and the performing artists was just inspiring. This is the 5th year that this festival is being held and the organisers have managed to build a magnificent following. All nights were sold out.

Jule Flierl in Happiness is a War M Gun
photo Gorka Bravo

To add to all that, I formed part of a fantastic jury, with jury members having different backgrounds but all with some involvement in dance. Festival organisers, critics, theatre owners all contributed to interesting, deep and mind opening discussions, sometimes very hot, which made the whole experience more electrifying. 

In the end, the 638 Kilo Tanz Public Award 2011 went to Maura Morales' ELLA and the 638 Kilo Tanz Jury Award went to Boglarka Börcsök and her production DISCOUNTS. Jule Flierl deserved a special mention by the Jury and was awarded a two-week residency at the Dresden Theatre Project.

I Cannot but thank Jelena and Sabina for their hospitality and for involving me in their creation and to all the people I met and made friends with during my stay in Essen. Thank You All!

event organisers -
photos  -

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Monday, November 14, 2011

Uncensoring the Capital

While in Essen, I made time to visit Zollverein. This industrial mining complex is a perfect example of how the coal mining and the coal processing industry of the 19th and 20th century was. 
The Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex (German Zeche Zollvereinhas been inscribed into the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites since December 14, 2001 and is one of the anchor points of the European Route of Industrial Heritage. 

Entrance to the Ruhr Museum

The sheer size and the near perfect condition of the complex makes the place impressive. But not only that, what's also very interesting about the place is its use today. Zollverein has become a cultural and artistic centre with a multitude of buildings being used for different things like museums, conference halls, artist's workshops, exhibition spaces, concert halls, dance halls, casinos, restaurants and whatever you fancy. This was partly the result of Essen being the European Capital of Cultural, something that Valletta will be in 2018. There are a lot of lessons to be learnt from places like Essen. On the plus side, what they managed to to with Zollverein is impressive. The down side of all this is that from what I heard while talking to locals, those that lived and worked around this complex don't feel part of the transformation. The elite just took over their space in the name of culture.  

Main Staircase inside Ruhr Museum
We still have a long way to go to 2018, and that's on many levels. We need a change in censorship laws, a change of mentality of what art is, we need to create contemporary art spaces, we need....well the list is endless really. But what we should do, as a country, is to take this opportunity to place art where it deserves, not just as a touristic attraction but part of who and what we really are, our true identity, if there is one. And also regenerate Valletta and keep the city alive not just during shop hours. Because lets face it, Valletta is half dead (or half alive if we want to be positive). Shops and offices alone won't keep the city alive. In a way, the capital has only half a voice, that of commerce. What we need to do is infuse art in the everyday (and night) life of our capital...and to do that we need to involve the people. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Street Art - Pablo Delgado

Pablo Delgado
I am a big fan of street art, especially the 'illegal' type. Nowadays, what was once considered as vandalism is increasingly becoming part of the mainstream; it has definitely become an acceptable form of art. More often than not, the largest pieces are either commissioned or with the blessing of some kind of authority. Yet, some of the best work is still 'illegal' and pops up unexpectedly.  This image above is most probably by Pablo Delgado. I came across it while walking close to Brick Lane in London. Just love Delgado's miniature work.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Back.....and forth

Finally back! Well, I've been here a couple of days now but I always need some time to settle back in my routine. The last couple of weeks were just incredible. I have been to London and then to Essen in Germany, then to London again and back to Malta. 
I always enjoy London and this time in particular. I was there to finalise details regarding my forthcoming solo exhibition which I will be holding in London next year. More details on this exhibition will be posted here in the future. 
In Essen, I attended the 638 Kilo Tanz Festival and was part of the jury. It was an inspiring and unforgettable experience where I have met some incredible people and seen some mind blowing stuff. In the coming days I will try to write more about this, about the whole event and the performers I met. Anyway, now its time to continue catching up with life.