Artpaper. #19

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EXHIBITION Matthew Schembri and Thomas Scerri showcase work on intermediate states 05 14 30 GALLERY R Gallery opens in the heart of Sliema No:19 + SAM VASSALLOSOLDWHERE€2.00

Dingli REVIEW A night at the Grandmaster’s Palace FILM Celebrating 100 years of Pasolini EVENTS Art events on the island and beyond SPOTLIGHT Ivorian realities expressed into dreams of the future pg.24>>recliningGrima,WomenEmma ERICA GIUSTA ORIGINALITY:ARTIFICIAL HOW AN AI PLATFORM CAN CREATIVEREVOLUTIONISEPROCESSES


If you are wondering why your social media feeds have suddenly become populated with an unusual amount of evocative artistic images, it’s because sophisticated AIgenerated contents are now accessible to anyone with a bit of curiosity, an electronic device and an internet connection. Architecture, pg. 27

exciting exploration of pleasure LOCAL The vibrant and no filter watercolours of

EXHIBITION Tonio Mallia’s dystopia when


ART NEWS Death, drugs and stolen art around the world GERMANY The


Start a Revolution from your bed Pleasure is power. It’s therefore no surprise that it has been weaponized into a tool of social shame and oppression. It’s a phenomenon that is not exclusive but definitely visible in Malta’s conservative rooting. Fresh out of art school, Maltese visual artist and activist Emma Grima explores the the power of pleasure in a thoughtprovoking body of work called The Vulva Monologues. Artpaper’s editor Sam Vassallo caught up with the artist to speak about the project and her career. Pg. 24 millionaire who painted poor What does the future hold for art in a world driven by artificial intelligence? beauty succumbs to war Grima’s Debbie Caruana


No.19 Artpaper / 03 September - October 2022 W Welcome / Team / Inside

Enjoy!Christineinfo@artpaper.pressManaging(+356)SamEditorVassallo99022398GraphicDesignerNicholasCutajarDirectorLilyAgius(+356)99292488SalesPersonKatherineMaj(+356)99175888PrintingPressPrintItContributorsGiuliaPrivitelliCharleneVellaVinceBriffaAtesOrgaEricaGiustaXuerebSeiduGabrieleSpillerSamVassalloEmmaGrimaThomasScerriMatthewSchembriDebbieCaruanaDingliJoannaDeliaFrancescaZammitMarkSullivanJulienVinetAmerWahoudNicholasCutajarLilyAgiusTonioMalliaDreweatts AEXHIBITIONS + EVENTS 05. FILM Celebrating 100 years of Pasolini 31. BIENNALE Ivorian artists showcase their work to the world 36. EVENTS Must-see exhibits around the world 38. LOCAL Up-coming exhibits in Malta INTERVIEWS + REVIEWS 10. ART REVIEW Tonia Mallia’s dystopian paintings 13. LOCAL The loud and proud of Maltese culture captured in vibrant watercolours 16. REVIEW Two local artists work from the “In-between” 18. MUSIC A night at the Grand Palace 24. INTERVIEW Pleasure and power with artist Emma Grima 27. AI How an AI Platform can revolutionise creativity 33. GERMANY Celebrating Max Liebermann’s paintings ART NEWS 07. ART MARKET Priceless stolen works uncovered around the world 22. PORCELAIN From the renowned collection of Anthony Rothchild thisNextwww.artpaper.pressissueOctober Advertising + Editorial + Information: Lily Agius - (+356) 9929 2488 - Endless Journey, Tonio Mallia >> pg.10 Supported by SundayLilyEdwardsBabelArtemisBistroCO-MALowellAgiusGalleryMarieGallery5No43People&SkininScotlandTicoTicoVeeGeeBeeArtZigumar Art Galleries MUZA Valletta LegionMuseumTheSocietyTheChristineMarie5ContemporaryGalleryXMaltaVeniceBiennaleofArtsMaltaNeauNationalgalerieBerlinSpazjuKreattiv,MaltaGreenShutters,MaltaRGalleryofContemporaryCulturesAdamaToungaraofHonourMuseum,SanFranciscoMuseeMatisseGermaldegalerieBerlinMoMa,NewYork

fter rolling days of basking sun, Summer is slowly drifting to sleep for another year. It has been a season with resemblance to pre-isolation times, a distant cousin to the racing-paced lives we lived prepandemic. But the past is the past and can never return. In the release of covid-19’s chokehold, we arm ourselves with hope and imaginations to envision alternative futures, whether pleasure-driven, dystopian or AI-generated, art is a tool that creates visions of what could be.

In this issue of Artpaper, young artist Emma Grima speaks about the radical power of bodily autonomy and pleasure can change our lives, while Giulia Privitelli’s review of Tonio Mallia’s work ponders a bleaker version of the future. Architect Erica Giusta writes about the questions surfacing now that AI-powered art has landed in the hands and screens of the public. Meanwhile, Christine Xuereb Seidu explains how Ivorian artists are using their work to imagine future realities and their places in them. The rest you’ll have to discover and read in the following pages.

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Pasolini 100 is a worldwide endeavour, celebrating 100 years since Pier Paolo Pasolini’s birth with two nights of lectures of screenings of the master’s works. This free event, taking place on the 7th and 8th September, is being organised by the Department of Italian, the Master of Arts in Film Studies of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Malta, in collaboration with the Italian Cultural Institute in Valletta. It will take place in the beautiful settings of the Bibjoteka National Library. The project is co-sponsored by Shadeena Entertainment Ltd, Sajjetta, Kukumajsa Productions Ltd, Falkun Films and Nizza Films and is being curated by Francesca Zammit. ART GALLERY OPENS IN SLIEMA MALTA


Celebrating a century of cinema legend Pasolini MALTA new pop-up contemporary art gallery in Tigne Street, Sliema will open this September, offer ing a place to exhibit and ex periment for local and interna tional artists. R Gallery, run by architect Mark Sullivan, is first and foremost an homage to its patrons Peter and Liliana Ri pard, with a scope of contributing a space for recreational display. The building itself is an Art Deco edifice built at the turn of the 20th century, used as a place of sanctuary for Brit ish military personnel who were stationed in Malta during the Second World War. The pop-up gallery, grounded by Corinthian columns and gargoyles, has now been revisited and transformed into a raw, rich structure for art-makers and practitioners to experiment, display and contribute to the multi-faceted art scene on the island. French artist Julien Vinet will be spearheading the opening with a show introducing his new body of work on the 22nd of September.

No.19 Artpaper / 05 September - October 2022 News / Malta / Pop-Up Gallery / Cinema

The art world is a dynamic place, far removed from quiet spectators rubbing their chins at sparkling galleries. In August, two major artworks were rightfully retrieved by authorities across the world, while a feminist Polish pioneer has sadly passed away. Brazilian artwork worth a staggering $59.1 million was discovered under the bed in an Ipanema beach house, after a sweeping police investigation into a group of stolen works.

Police detailed how the con woman al legedly used a clairvoyant to convince A her mother that she was sick and must cough up a series of payments as a sort of “spiritual redemption” through an Af ro-Brazilian priestess. Eventually Boghi ci became suspicious and tried to stop making payments, and was confined to her home where she was beaten and robbed.

The mastermind behind this art heist, according to police, was the daughter of an 82-year-old woman, Genevieve Boghici, who was once married to Jean Boghici, a late Brazilian dealer who ac quired a significant collection of art throughout his life.

Sol Poente (Setting Sun), completed in 1929, is a beautiful and historical ly-weighted work. It is a solid example of how do Amaral fused elements of Eu ropean modernism with styles inspired by Brazilian vernacular art. It featured in her major 2018 Museum of Modern Art retrospective. It comes to no sur prise then, that when Sol Poente was uncovered from the bed frame of a Bra zilian beach house, one person caught on video was heard saying “Fucking hell!” in Portuguese. Just a week later, a painting believed to be done by the famous artist Picas so was discovered during a high-profile drug raid in Iraq. Like the Tarsila do Am aral painting, it is estimated to be worth Accordingmillions. to the government-run Iraqi News Agency (INA), the allegedly sto len work was found after three people were arrested on suspicion of trade and transportation of narcotic drugs in the Diyala province in central-eastern Iraq. Details about the authenticity of the painting are yet to be released.

No.19 Artpaper / 07 September - October 2022

Photo: Courtesy of wikicommons

News / Stolen Art Pablo Picasso. Photo: Courtesy of wikicommons

SAM VASSALLO is a Maltese journalist, writer and artist based in Berlin.



Pablo Picasso, known for his essential contribution to the Cubist movement, is one of the world’s most known art ists, producing over 13,500 paintings, 100,000 prints and engravings as well as hundreds of sculptures and ceramic works during his nearly 80-year career. This is not the first of his works to be stolen. Last year, Picasso’s “Head of a Woman” was recovered by Greek police after nearly a decade since it was sto len during a museum heist. In 2019, his “Portrait of Dora Maar” was discovered by a Dutch art detective after 20 years since it was stolen off a yacht of a Saudi sheikh in the South of France. In May, a portrait of Picasso’s lover and mother of one of his children called “Femme nue couchée” sold at auction for $67.5 Whilemillion.we applaud these retrieved mas terpieces, August has also brought the sad news of the passing of Polish fem inist artist, Natalia LL. Natalia Lach-La chowicz, known as Natalia LL, was a con ceptual artist and image maker who was active and influential in the avant-garde scene in Poland in the 1960s and 70s.

Natalia LL left a multi-faceted and rich body of work, including an erotic and satirical series that questions how wom en were passively portrayed in TV, print and advertising. Consumer Art (19721975), one of her most defining works, presents models delighting in phallus foods like bananas, sausages and icecream cones and serves to counter the male gaze in consumerism. Through her bold explorations of the “the sec ond sex” , LL left a permanent mark on global feminism and is widely celebrated today. Rest in power, Natalia.

The major work is called Sol Poente (Setting Sun) by Tarsila do Amaral, one of Brazil’s most prominent and import ant modern artists. It is one of 16 paint ings found on the 11th of August, which are estimated to be worth 709 million reias ($139 million), not counting stolen jewellery or cash found.

Natalia LL, Post-consumer Art, 1975, colour photograph on paper, 50.5 x 60.5 cm, the collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow (MOCAK)

The idea behind curating a personalised library is to create the most beautiful and sophisticated space that will enable people to unplug and enjoy the moment and this is why every project is one-of-a-kind. The unique design seeks to include a variety of genres while adding decorations to the library space, such as rare statues and sculptures — objects that help take guests on a visual journey and add conceptual depth to the library.

The books at Edwards Lowell Book Store are ones you can judge by their cover!

The Edwards Lowell Book Store is the latest addition to their growing iniatives. Not only are they selling high-end coffee table books, but they are also assisting with the curation of libraries for hotels, residences, private offices and more. With 97 years at the forefront of the luxury watch and fine jewellery business in Malta, representing brands like Rolex, Patek-Philippe and Edwards Lowell’s latest edition, the Edwards Lowell Book Store, is building on a strength they have seen in their Portomaso Boutique, a twostorey, multi-functional shopping experience that includes an art gallery, champagne bar, high-end library and displays of the finest watches and jewellery on the market. With the launch of the shop on Zachary Street in Valletta, they are putting luxury books into the limelight.

No.19 Artpaper / 08 September - October 2022 News / Malta / Library MALTA A LIBRARY AS A FORM OF EXPRESSION

Also available from the Elcol website, the Edwards Lowell Book Store offers a vast selection of perfectly bound, attractively presented books on art, fashion, photography, travel and lifestyle, books of the highest quality with distinctive graphic identity and editorial savoir-faire, including those from high quality publishers, Assouline and Taschen. These books are not simply words and pictures, but experiences which unfold as you turn the pages.

The Assouline publishing house is the gold standard for luxury fashion and lifestyle books, chronicling the history of everything from the house of Chanel to Coca-Cola to the Carlyle Hotel, with Alex Assouline introducing a service to design private libraries to the company.

For most of us, books are a source of pleasure, telling great stories through words or images, but a well-curated library is more than just solving a storage problem, it is an expression of luxury, art, and culture.

Cartier, Edwards Lowell have experience in quality, style, and attention to detail. This gives them a unique outlook when curating both personal and corporate libraries for their clients, addressing individual needs.

Despite the increase in digital technologies that are changing the way we digest information, the global book market is expected to expand by 1.9% to $164.22bn by 2030 according to a report by Grand View Research Inc. Nothing compares to the feeling of a good book in your hands, and we want to showcase our favourite volumes in a space that’s comfortable, personal, and unique. While public and university libraries are often vast and full of splendour, home libraries are more intimate (but not any less gorgeous). The room can be formal and elegant or colourful and cosy, and stylish focal points like a fireplace, desk, or snug sitting area keep things just as interesting as the volumes on the shelves.

The Assouline Collection lies side by side with another worldfamous publisher – Taschen, a publisher that has become synonymous with accessible, eclectic publishing. From affordable Basic Art series to highly collectible limited editions, Taschen specialises in illustrated publications on a range of themes including art, architecture, design, film, photography, pop culture, and lifestyle.

A private library is more than just a way to organise your books; it’s an expression of character and a symbol of style. Adding what can be nothing less than art pieces by both Assouline and Taschen – hand-bound books using traditional techniques, with colour plates hand-tipped on art-quality paper, will lift your spaces from simple bookshelves to a library that expresses who you really are.

50, Zachary Steet, Valletta; T: 2568 3070; E:; W:

The proof is in the luxury pudding. Entering the boutique on a slanting hill of Valletta is to feel an immediate sense of serenity. It is to enter a place forged for nostalgic beauty and allurement of the senses. Everything from the ethereal T blue of the signage outside, to the material choice of the chairs’ cushions, to the bold combinations of the artisanal flavors and textures of the cakes, reflects this.

No.19 Artpaper / 09 September - October 2022 MALTA News / Interview / New Boutique in Sliema

New boutique opens in Sliema

“I take inspiration from my love of art and craftsmanship, the dedication to the work, the passionate in process as well as the final item.”

After establishing the flagship boutique store in the heart of the capital, Wahoud has a lot planned for Sunday in Scotland, bringing the concept to multiple other popular locations on the island.

Wahoud, the founder and creator of Sunday in Scotland, has forged a rivetingly fresh way to experience the decadent luxury of fine life and chocolate. The en trepreneur, artist and chocolatier’s eco-conscious, zero-waste and handcrafted boutique stands to be a benchmark of lifestyle brands worldwide.

Experience Sunday in Scotland: visit the boutique on 173 St Lucy Street, Val letta, Malta International Airport, and The Strand in Sliema, and check out their website at


he phrase “attention to detail” may have gained the status of a buzzword, but at Sunday in Scotland, it is a true centering rai son d’être. From the custom clad interior design to the charming cakes brought to life by Creative Director Amer Wahoud, every thing alludes to careful craftsmanship.

“This isn’t simply a café or shop - it’s a chocolate boutique, a whole experience within itself. Everything is natural, bespoke and genuine. There’s layers behind all the fine details,” Wahoud explained, when asked about what makes Sunday in Scotland stand out.


A new series of paintings by Tonio Mallia reimagines a world shaken beyond its tipping point, where the tensions between the human and natural world are no longer at play, and beauty has devolved into war. Endless Journey Waterworld

BELLOUM MUNDUM:IN When SuccumbsBeautyToWar

MALTA News / Exhibition / Malta / Tonio Mallia


No.19 Artpaper / 010 September - October 2022

he world is going through a crisis not unlike that experi enced by an entire post-war generation over a century ago, the disillusion and sterility of which cling to the haunting verses of T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land. The poem, which turns a hundred this year, offers, in one critic’s analysis, ‘a vision of desolation and spiritual drought’, and ex hales, according to another, a ‘sigh for the vanished glory of the past’, encompassing the ‘plight of the whole generation’, as yet an other commentator puts it. A hundred years on, these unheeded utterances have found their way into the Camerone at MUZA, Val letta, where they hang about ominously, full of dread, announcing the foreboding ethos of a series of new paintings by Tonio Mallia in an exhibition called Bellum in Mundum Tonio’s previous offering to the public, how ever, presented a very different view of the world, as if in its primordial days of creation and habitation. For seven years, the artist receded from view, while the world evolved according to its natural order and entrust ed all to the human race. Now, in the eighth year, nature trembles at its tipping point— its dying point—rebelling violently, pleading and yearning to be cleansed of the cancer that plagues its beautiful body: the land, the air, and the seas. We have instead a terrible face, grimacing at mankind—the cause and victim of the unprecedented war it wages on the world, and which nature knows is final. So, what happened to mankind that it should forget its place as steward of the world and, as it were, of itself—that bello (beauty) should succumb to bellum (war)?

‘Bellum in Mundum’ will be on show at the Camerone, MUZA – The Nation al Community Art Museum, Valletta, until the 11th of September. www.

To be sure, there is still beauty in the world, and it often surfaces and dwells in places which are hardly of note: na ture will always be able to surprise, to instil an indescribable and ungraspable sense of awe, and humanity, too, is still capable of producing works of immense beauty, of being a cause of beauty. And yet, we know only too well the innumer able lives nature has claimed, and the immeasurable damage man has inflict ed upon the world, gradually turning it into a wasteland and, indeed, discarding one another as if they themselves are made of waste. Despite all the beauty man can create and offer, history shows us in many tragic ways – the holocaust, Chernobyl, the exodus of all asylum seekers – that man is just as capable of the greatest brutalities and horrors ever witnessed or heard of. It is precisely this tension which plays across the surfaces of Tonio’s paintings in Bellum in Mun dum, the same tension which troubles Death as imagined in Zusak’s The Book Thief, perplexed as he is by humanity, by ‘how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, its words and stories so damning and brilliant’. Here is the inter play between beauty and war, between creating and erasing, building and dis mantling, staying and fleeing, dying and living, that haunts and unsettles the be holder, victims of their own crimes. Every day offers a memory of something that is no longer there: a place, a person, a moment. In August alone, we remem ber the thousands of Sinti and Roma murdered in Nazi-occupied Europe, and the millions stripped of their dignity and life under tyrannical regimes; we re member the barbaric atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the toxic smoke that spread and the rain which poured death instead of life; we remem ber the families forced to separate and flee, as they still do now, pushed out of their homes because of another tox in that always threatens to poison the human heart; we remember, too, those who sought a freedom, to fight back and not abandon that fragile thing called it may be, in nature as in the world of man, that life marches through the dry and arid grounds, through the stench of rot and the fragile, cracked earth, so as to give witness to it and will that a new beginning might emerge from the detritus and mistakes that have been made.

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GIULIA PRIVITELLI holds an M.A. in History of Art, and is presently Assistant Editor at Fondazzjoni Patrimonju Malti. She is also a freelance writer, regularly contributing culture-related articles to various local newspapers, magazines and blogs. E:

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Debbie Caruana Dingli’s exhibition ‘The Cappuccino Brigade’ will be open throughout the month of Sep tember at The Palm Court Lounge, The Phoenicia Malta. Selfie

Caruana Dingli is a prolific and promi nent exponent of contemporary art in Malta being especially relevant for her D sensitivity to socio-political issues of which she is vociferous, even through her art. She, however, also focuses on her own reality, as was the case with her solo exhibition ‘Facing Myself’ held in 2018 after a car accident that took place in The2016.starting point for this present col lection stemmed from doodles that were created very naturally and unwittingly by Caruana Dingli at a worrying time. These doodles, executed with a biro and paper that were easily available to her, were a form of release, a release from a particularly stressful moment from which Debbie Caruana Dingli needed to escape, even if fleetingly.

For anyone passionate about their art or craft, a long stretch of time away from that art form feels like an eternity, fingers starting to itch to create. That absence proves how important their art is to them, and that the urge to create is utterly pure and strong, and very much a necessity. This was very much the case for Debbie Caruana Dingli and the creation of the present collection of watercolours.

Debbie Caruana Dingli later came to re alise that amongst these doodles there emerged a very strong Maltese element; this was the start of her next project and the theme of her next solo exhibi tion, her last one being a large collection of oil paintings on an overlooked aspect of motherhood held in Valletta between April and May 2021 titled ‘Nothing Real ly AndMatters’.therefore, this exhibition of water colours executed in the last few months titled ‘The Cappuccino Brigade’ being held at The Phoenicia Malta’s Palm Court Lounge and curated by Dr Char lene Vella, is Debbie Caruana Dingli’s ninth solo exhibition and each painting is based on her observations of us, the native Maltese population. Her talent for painting is indisputable. She is an astute portraitist and re nowned watercolorist, Caruana Dingli also reveals her keen sense of observa tion in her quirky, clever and witty car toon-like paintings that share traits that are unique to Caruana Dingli. Each of her paintings tells a story in a simple and effective way. They are, of course, exaggerations of reality with am plified features and gestures, and which are very much based on actuality. What comes across is what to her and many of us Maltese, is a truly Maltese identity, warts and all, sometimes literally. The paintings are executed with fluid wet-on-wet or alla prima waterco lour technique that is very unforgiving, above which are multiple drawn lines in sections of the composition which focus our attention on the story being told. These lines in ink reveal the flurry of activity with which these paintings were executed, with Caruana Dingli being at that moment completely lost in her Shework.employs a vibrant palette for these compositions which goes very well with the theme of the Maltese who can be very loud and proud: just look at the ti tle piece of the exhibition. This is not to say that there aren’t more sombre and poignant paintings included in this col lection, such as The Wedding Photo There is bound to be something that we, Maltese, will associate with, giggle or even laugh at, and for foreigners to get to know us colourful Maltese better.

ebbie Caruana Dingli’s first solo exhibition was held in 1985 and she has not stopped painting or exhibiting her work since, having exhibited her work in Malta and internationally also in collective exhibitions. One of her self-portraits dating to 1985 is exhibited at Malta’s National Fine Arts Museum in Valletta, MUZA, and she was the 23rd artist selected for Bank of Valletta’s ret rospective exhibition in 2015, the first female to have a retrospective exhibi tion dedicated to her artistic career.

News / Exhibtion / Debbie Caruana Dingli MALTA CHARLENE VELLA The Communion Procession

No.19 Artpaper / 013 September - October 2022 US MALTESE

No.19 Artpaper / 014 September - October 2022 Review /Malta / Exhibition VINCE BRIFFA Un)Masking the light in-between fact and fabrication MALTA

Still, Malta is experiencing yet another spike in confirmed COVID-19 pandem ic cases, the numbers of which have now exceeded a hundred and eleven thousand1 since those first reported at the beginning of March of 2020, bring ing with them a death toll of over sev en hundred and eighty people to date. At present, Malta has the highest virus positivity rate in the EU, at more than 40%2. Such information, which used to be somewhat worrying only months ago, has become just another unheeding statistic which wades in the overflow of daily information coming our way.

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1World Health Organisation, Country Statistics,



2Times of Malta, 20 July, 2022, Nanay, The Importance of Amodal Completion in Everyday Perception, Reference, Encyclopedia of Perception,

Today, we have adjusted pretty well to living in two parallel realities, where we both wear and don’t wear a protec tive mask, with such a decision at times dictated by the requisites of place and circumstance. However, a totally uncon nected consideration has become a key player in the decision-making process of mask-wearing and needs to be factored into the analysis of such an important act. As society continually shapes us and conditions the way we view our face and body image, the decision of wear ing a mask or not is also swayed by our individual sense of perceptive aesthet ics, or rather, on how we prefer others to perceive our face; factually or open to imagination, real or perceived. Scien tific studies in psychology have shown that in the case of vision, a phenomenon termed Amodal Completion3 influenc es such a decision and skews one into deciding to protect the face to conform to a perceived aesthetic rather than to observe proven scientific procedure. According to the SAGE Encyclopedia of Perception, Amodal Perception is the perception of information that is common or redundant across multi ple senses (e.g., auditory, visual, tac tile). Amodal information includes changes along three basic parameters of stimulation—time, space, and in tensity. Therefore,4 it follows that our perceptu al system is able to represent, or better imagine, those parts of the person (ob ject or scene) that we do not see, and therefore in the case of a masked per son, the person’s whole face is complet ed amodally, as informed by the viewer’s perceptive baggage. This phenomenon acts at the threshold of fact and fabri cation and is in many ways similar to the central space of artistic encounter, a liminal space for meaning-making be tween the artist and the viewer and me diated through the artwork. Since such processes rely on two entities for meaning-making to happen, interac tion is not only dependent on the artist creating the perfect space for dialogue, but also on the activation of such dia logue by the viewer’s action. Therefore, mediation is really their prerogative. Without such activity in-between the


A s I write this essay on a extremely hot afternoon in July of 2022, the gen eral feeling in Malta is similar to the one in most of the countries around the world; that of business as usual. The everyday seems unhampered by the ghostly memories of the months spent in mandatory lockdown, an ab surd and apprehensive reality that was brought about by the strong clasp of a virus whose presence we have now learnt to incorporate in our day-to-day.

Thomas Scerri’s body of sculptural work challenges our amodal properties through a process that zones in on the limen of fact and fabrication as it acts on resolutions at the thresholds of mat ter and material. Materja is a body of sculptural work that metaphorically re sides in the constricted space between the mask and the face and reflects on the in-between state through intention al material ambiguity. The artist hides the metal sculptures behind fabric and challenges us to consciously experience the form from its evanescent silhouette, cutting us off from any visual truth and denying any likelihood of activating our amodal faculties. Scerri consciously suspends the works in a multitude of layers of uncertainty, provoking their conceptual reading and challenging our meaning-making structures through an exacted strategy of ambivalence. His masked, inert forms defy gravity and hang in mid-air to conceptually allude to the void that follows the transience of life, suspended in the abyss of the here after. Through their display aesthetics, these shrouds, silently draped in their own veiled uncertainty, boldly question the boundaries between painting and Throughsculpture.a deliberately unsettling pro cess, Thomas positions the viewer in a state of anxiety. Planned lighting sug gests our spatial understanding of the combined mixture of materials, plays with our perceptions, and invites us to only make sense of their form through our own visual perception. Like a mod esty screen, the veiling material cuts into the shared space between us and the work, impending further approach while paradoxically luring us into its un comfortable, suggestive embrace. There is an uncanny quality in Scerri’s works, as we are placed in an an uncomfortable state of cognitive dissonance5; we are suspended between what we hold to be true and what we know to be true, trig gering a Lacanian notion of uncertain ty, of not being able to distinguish the

5Art and Popular Culture, Cognitive Dissonance,

No.19 Artpaper / 016 September - October 2022 Review /Malta / Exhibition

MALTA Continued artist, the work and the viewer, nothing happens and the work remains inert in the spatial limbo of its existence. As the exhibition’s curator, I have ap proached the work proposed by the two young artists for the exhbition In-Be tween from a stand that entertains the notion of this sentient gap (that is housed between the mask and the face) as a metaphor for the constricted breach of visual art practice, that is as the in-between gap sundering the ger mination of concept and its final expo sition, an activity that transforms itself from the incubatory space of the studio to the heterotopic openness of the exhi bition hall. These spaces of thinking and doing which contemporaneously shift between the actual and the virtual, act similarly to the enclosure brought about by parenthesis in a sentence, an after thought designed to reflect back on the journey of the works from its beginning to its end. Therefore, my intention is for these works to be the space that acti vates such a mediation from a myriad of levels, becoming a conduit for making meaning of our contemporary condition. In-Between is an exhibition that focus es on intermediate states, connecting and alternately separating such dual ities such as life and death, presence and absence, the visible and the hid den, and the tangible and the intangible amongst many others.

The two young Maltese artists, winners of the Shifting Contexts competition in 2018 organised by Agenzija Zghazagh in collaboration with Spazju Kreattiv and curated by Dr. Trevor Borg, have largely conceptual ised the two bodies of work presented in the exhibition in the restraint of the personal void of lockdown, uncertain if the work will ever be exhibited and far removed from the normal custom where site specificity is usually factored into the creative process. Both artists have therefore had to renegotiate their instal lations not only from a spatial dimen sion, and a temporal one in the case of Matthew Schembri, in line with the ev er-changing statistics of the COVID-19 pandemic in Malta.

phor for the ever-increasing number of COVID-19-pandemic-related deaths on the island. As we increasingly return to whatever we describe as normality, in search of an unrestrained, full life, one cannot but help but think about how viruses chal lenge our concept of what living means through their uncanny state; in abey ance between the living and non-living, they cannot replicate on their own but can do so in truly living cells. Further more, they can profoundly affect their hosts’ behaviour6

Both Materja and what you left be hind heavily rely on light to tease out alternative meanings of our universal truths. They use different qualities of light as metaphors for the metaphysical abstractions of existence, life and death. Similar to Blumenberg’s philosophic musings on light in his essay Light as a Metaphor for Truth (1957)7, the use of light in the exhibition is intru sive; in its abundance, it creates the overwhelming, conspicuous clarity with which the truth “comes forth”. In Blumenberg’s own words, In-Between uses light as the absolute power of Being, which reveals the paltriness [Nichtigkeit] of the dark, which can no longer exist once light has come into existence. One hopes that the viewer in this exhi bition is touched by the light and finds some truth in its suggestive illumina tion.

6Scientific American, Are Viruses Alive?

No.19 Artpaper / 017 terrible from the sublime, uncertain if the exhibits repel or draw us into their mysterious gulf. Materja’s uncertainty does not emanate from what is evident nor does it come from what is complete ly unknown; it is brought about by what is suggested, by the anxiety of what we project onto what could possibly be en Acountered.similarconcern on the anxiety of the unknown is shared by Matthew Schem bri’s installation what you left behind, an installation which focuses on the way we perceive virus contagion. The work appropriates traces of evidence of social engagement through fingerprints and other marks that visitors leave on wine glasses when departing the art exhibi tion space after the opening night. In a quasi-forensic fashion, the work uncov ers a world hidden from our sight and only made manifest through ultravio let light. Similar to Scerri’s installation, what you left behind makes us imagine what is not visually evident, as it shock ingly unearths the hidden world of the transmission and infection of a virus through touch, and the perils at stake when we make social contact with oth ers during public occasions. what you left behind is both a performance and an installation. It uses the vernissage of the same work as a superspreading event to bring to our attention our vul nerability to what we do not see. Those invited to the exhibition’s opening are given wine in glasses that are partly covered in a chemical powder that is not visible to the naked eye. This acts as agent to make the guests’ fingerprints on the glasses visible, which, when emp tied, are placed on UV-lit racks which line the adjoining exhibition space. The glasses are a living testimony to the mul tiple perils of virus transmission through human touch and become a meta There is a sense of the uncanny in the work what you left behind, as it is with us, present, but yet, does not make its appearance known through the faculty of any of our senses. Spread between two different spaces, what you left be hind creates panic in the mind of the viewer as soon as they are in the second room, when they realise that the more than seven hundred and fifty glasses infected by human touch, can not only be potentially virus-infected, forcing us to rethink our age-old formats of hospi tality, social entertainment and societal engagement. The work is a true wakeup call to the realisation that there is another world far removed from our faculties of vision, a realm inhabited by invisible invaders that wreak havoc on our bodies and could potentially kill us.

7Hans Blumenberg, Light as a Metaphor for Truth: At the Preliminary Stage of Philosophical Concept Formation, in David Kleinberg-Levin (ed.), Modernity and the Hegemony of Vision. The University of California Press. pp. 30--62 (1993)

No.19 Artpaper / 018 September - October 2022 Review /Malta / Music MALTA AT THE MUSICMASTER’SGRANDPALACEFORAWHILE A Maltese feuilleton ATES ORGA

onday 26th, 8 o’clock. April 1841. Chopin gives a semi-private recital at 22 rue de Rochechouart, an elite circle of aristocracy, friends, and pupils awaiting him. “In two hours of two-handed clap ping,’ we are told, ‘he pocketed six thousand and several hundred francs amidst ovations, encores and the stamping of the most beautiful women in Paris’. Liszt, who the day before had been playing the Emperor with Berlioz, took up his pen, contributing a review to La Gazette Musicale, focussing less on the music, more the glamour, social air and atmosphere of the occasion. “The salons of Monsieur Pleyel,” he reported, “were brilliantly lit; a ceaseless stream of carriages deposited at the foot of the steps, carpeted and decked with fragrant flowers, the most elegant ladies, the most fashionable young men, the most famous artists, the richest financiers, the most illustrious lords, the élite of society - a complete aristocracy of birth, wealth, talent and beauty.

An open grand piano was on the platform; crowding around, peo ple vied for the closest seats; composing themselves in anticipation, they would not miss a chord, a note, an intention, a thought of him who was about to sit there ...”

No.19 Artpaper / 019

Friday 10th, 7.30. June 2022. In limestone Valletta for a brief for ty-eight hours, that long ago soirée, shades of the handsome im moral Liszt not yet thirty, fever and adoration in the air, curious ly drugs my mind. I find myself drawn into a fairy tale bejewelled among the galleries, state rooms and courtyards of the Grand Mas ter’s Palace, built in the 16th century and renovated in the 18th, a survivor (largely) of the Axis destruction rained upon Malta during the Second World War – the Royal Opera House at the other end of Republic Street wasn’t so fortunate. Co-chaired by Joanna De lia (People & Skin, Sliema), Wilfred Kenely (CEO, Research, In novation and Development Trust [RIDT], University of Malta) and Sarah-Lee Zammit (NoceMuskata, Valletta), academics from the University’s Department of Conservation and Built Heritage and Heritage Malta in support, the evening has a serious purpose. Fund ing the preservation of Matteo Perez D’Aleccio’s Great Siege wall paintings commissioned by the Order of St John and executed be tween 1575 and 1581 – a remarkable series of twelve extant panels documenting in narrative sequence the Siege of 1565 when, Chris tendom confronting Islam, the Knights Hospitaller repelled Süley man the Magnificent (as Vienna had done earlier in 1529). Prior to settling in Peru, D’Aleccio, apprenticed to Michelangelo, was prom inent among Mediterranean Catholic circles, working on the Sistine Chapel before reaching Valletta. Peopling the marble stairs, gracing the long, high-ceiling corridors guarded by suits of silent armour, laughter and wine never far away, radiance and society is on display. Dresses of silk and satin. Boots of black, waistcoats of red. A throat-clasping, pearl-adorned white cre ation that might have come out of Anna Karenina or St Petersburg 1905, worn by a young Muscovite of balletic allure, every toss of the wrist a speaking arabesque. Luke Azzopardi’s voluminously chal M lenging black ghonnella, kissing the mosaics, sweeping the stepped streets beyond, time-warping us to another age. A kaleidoscope of nationalities and cultures. Maltese, Danish, Albanian, French, Turk ish, colonial British, Faroese, Italian, Sicilian, Irish, Russian. Hot ... sea wind … a waxing gibbous moon sailing the sky. Music frames the speeches and presentations. In the Throne Room, surrounded by D’Aleccio’s images of Knights and Ottomans, of a place on a rock nearer Africa than Europe where “people swear in Arabic but pray in church” (Liam Gauci), Clare Ghigo (mezzo-so prano) and Anne Marie Camilleri Podesta (harp) open with a group of late Renaissance/early Baroque songs intrinsically in keeping with the history and ambience of the setting. Frescobaldi’s ‘Se l’aura spi ra’, Caccini’s ‘Amarilli mia bella’, Purcell’s ‘Music for a while’, and the anonymous French ‘El baxel esta en la playa’ published in 1609. Familiar numbers but beautifully done and elegantly staged, Clare Ghigo bringing a rich dark glow to the music, her liquid voice in an artistically special place these days.

ATES ORGA is an award-winning British writer and record producer. Author of several books, includ ing widely translated biographies of Beethoven and Chopin, he has collaborated with a number of eminent Maltese musicians and artists, from Charles Camilleri to more recently pianist Charlene Farrugia and composer Karl Fiorini.


Anne Marie Camilleri Podesta’s inter luding, mellifluous of tone and phrasing, proves as pleasing as it is unexpected. ‘Two Castanet Dances of the Maltese’, ‘A Mask-Ball Dance of the Maltese’ and ‘A Maltese Jig’ from Edward Jones’s Terp sichore’s Banquet (circa 1813: Malta became a British Crown Colony on July 23rd that year, Samuel Taylor Coleridge no less having earlier been Acting Pub lic Secretary, 1804-05, with an office in what’s now the Casino Maltese, steps away from the Palace.) Extravagant ly admired, the Welsh harpist Edward Jones (1752-1824) was bard to George IV. In an age with a mania for ‘national airs’, drawing the likes of Haydn, Pleyel and Beethoven (copiously so), Jones enjoyed something of a field day – de spite never visiting the remoter coun tries of his attention, relying instead on informants, collectors and returning travellers. His Lyric Airs (1804) of fered “Specimens of Greek, Albanian, Walachian, Turkish, Arabian, Persian, Chinese, and Moorish National Songs and Melodies (being the first selection of the kind ever yet offered to the pub lic:) to which are added, Basses for the Harp, or Piano-forte”. An 1807 antholo gy was devoted extensively to “Maltese Melodies; Or National Airs, And Dances, usually performed by the Maltese Mu sicians at their Carnival & other Fes tivals”. “Printed for the author, in the Lord Steward’s Court-Yard, near the ball room, St. James’s Palace,” Terpsichore’s Banquet comprised “Select beauties of various national melodies consisting of Spanish, Maltese, Russian, Armenian, Hindostan, English, Swedish, German, French, Swiss, and other favourite airs; most of them never before published”. In 1806 Jones effectively introduced the ‘German Waltz’ to Britain (so charming ly Regent-ified by Sor a decade later). The Maltese/Balkan-related repertory would make an exotically referenced re cording, Camilleri Podesta ideally suited to the task.


“A thought of him who was about to sit there ...” Leaving the wooden floored Throne Room for the tile-laid Tapestry Hall, its walls hung with 18th centu ry French Gobelins, to be greeted by a 1900 rosewood 88-key Bechstein grand, partially restored by Nikolai Vukov ic around five years ago. Dusty about the tuning pins and soundboard, none theless an old lady of fine complexion and shapely legs, ivories intact. Not to be pushed but caringly touched. Au dience standing. Out of the dark, into the spotlight. Karl Fiorini. Garbed in black. To play his Second Sonata, pre miered last year (11 June) at the Mal ta Society of Arts

No.19 Artpaper / 020 September - October 2022 MALTA Continued Review /Malta / Music

No.19 Artpaper / 021 making possible what others can only dream about. Like Karl’s tripartite 2017 Sonata (“an engrossing wordless narrative, stylis tically accessible yet elusively mys terious”, Toronto’s Whole Note Mag azine) motifssimilarityintolonggianiswatch?v=qKXVhpR5vmg,,dividedfourchapters.Therearepointsofbetweenthetwo–recurrent(thestabbingfigureatthestart is germinally important), contrasting sections of agitation and stasis, vir tuosity and lyricism, driving rhythms and soaring climaxes, twisted elements of dance – but overall the language of the new work seems more clarified and tonally identifiable. A drama of minors and majors and pivotal linkage. More pastoralised than firebranded. To what extent the performance, from memory, is limited by the relative frailty of the Bechstein I can only presume. The pre miere, featuring a Steinway B, certainly left the impression of being dynamically stronger and more boldly characterised in terms of attack, articulation and co lour choices. No matter. Retiring when it comes to exposure or interviews, Karl rarely makes public appearances. They’re eminently worth seeking out. With a regime of Beethoven sonatas and Chopin studies as his practice ground, playing for himself rather than any gath ering, it’s the best way to get a sense of the man, the wiry pulse of his nervosity Reception among the lamps, fronds and shadows, memories re-kindled, new ones made. Soldiers in fatigues manning the great doors. St. George’s Square. To Babel around the corner, drink, ciga rillos and love entanglements tension ing the intellectual discourse, loosen ing emotional inhibitions. Long night. Dawn. Home on the afternoon flight.


The bulk of Anthony de Rothchild’s collection was kept at the family’s country home, Ascott House in Buckinghamshire. His role in the family business meant that he lived between his London residence and Ascott house. He and his wife Yvonne Lydia Louise de Roth schild (1899-1977) were well-known for their commitment to public service. In 1933, they were among several prominent Jewish found ers of the Central British Fund for German Jewry, the British refugee relief agency pro viding emergency.


While most of it had been passed on through other generations and was accounted for, this particular selection of works had been packed away and was only recently brought to the fami ly’s attention. The pieces bear the unique labels that correlate with the meticulous inventory that Anthony de Rothschild maintained for his spectacular museum-quality collection, as he added to it over the years.

No.19 Artpaper / 022 September - October 2022

Anthony de Rothschild began collecting pre dominantly after serving in the First World War. A very passionate collector like his fa ther, he amassed the majority of his works throughout the 1920’s and 30’s and was an early lender to the Oriental Ceramics Soci ety exhibitions, which were founded in 1921.

Review /United Kingdom/ Rothschild Collection

selection of important Chinese porcelain that formed part of the worldrenowned Anthony de Rothschild Chinese porcelain collection has been rediscovered at his daughter Renée Lou ise Marie de Rothschild’s (1927-2015) home. The pieces had been gifted to her in 1948 when Anthony de Rothschild (1887-1961) donated the family home, Ascott House to the National Trust and dispersed the contents of it to several museums and amongst his family.


Anthony de Rothschild was one of the earliest collectors of Oriental works. He amassed his extensive collection from his travels, which were ins’gated by an initial trip to China with A his brother in 1911. He would later travel ex tensively, keeping meticulous records of ev erything he bought and chose only museum quality pieces. Dreweatts is therefore thrilled to offer the opportunity to obtain such excep tional works with impeccable provenance, in a sale of Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art on November 9th and 10th 2022.

The Rothschilds offered Ascott house for use as a hospital during the war and when the Chelsea Pensioners were bombed out of their

A Chinese pale celadon and brown jade model of a monkey from the Qing Dynasty. Estimate £2,000-£3,000 Much of the porcelain on offer features inventory numbers, notes and antique dealers’ labels, such was the conscientious nature of Anthony de Rothschild’s record-keeping and the care taken with the pieces in his collection.

A fine pair of Chinese gilt-metal mount ed candelabra are comprised of Kangxi period porcelain parrots with a tur quoise and aubergine glaze.

A Chinese white and russet jade model of a quail dating from the Qianlong period. Estimate £3,000-£5,000 The discovered pieces were verified by the labels and meticulous inventory kept by Anthony de Rothschild

Commenting on the collection, Drewe atts Chinese and Asian Art specialist Yingwen Tao said: “We are very hon oured to sell this rare group of rediscov ered works that graced the collection of one of the greatest pioneer collectors of Chinese ceramics of the 20th century. I’m sure they will cause excitement and attract attention from collectors around the globe.”

A pair of stunning Chinese white glazed figures of horses from the Kangxi period. Estimate £3,000-£5,000

A pair of stunning Chinese white glazed figures of horses from the Kangxi period depict them lying down, but with legs bent as if about to stand. Their manes, forelocks and pricked ears are brownglazed and they rest on shaped bases. The pair carries an estimate of £3,000Amongst£5,000. several Chinese jade and hardstone works is a white and russet jade model of a quail dating from the Qianlong period. Very finely detailed it features a vase and lingzhi fungus on a pierced rock base and has an estimate of £3,000-£5,000. Another highlight from the jade collection is the white jade carving of cats, also dated back to the 18th century. In ancient China the cat was considered to be a symbol of happiness. The cats are carved recum bent and grasping a lingzhi fungus stem which denotes longevity in Chinese culture. Made of very fine quality white jade, the group carries an estimate of Monkeys£2,000-£3,000.feature consistently in Chinese culture, often portrayed as mischievous and cheeky, however they were be lieved to have the ability to drive away evil spirits and were therefore believed to be able to bring good fortune. A Chi nese pale celadon and brown jade mod el of a monkey from the Qing Dynasty depicts the monkey seated, holding its young. With its unusual large size of over 12cm high, it carries an estimate of £2,000-£3,000.

No.19 Artpaper / 023 SALADS BY DAY DRINKS BY NIGHT @ NO.43 43, MERCHANT STREET, VALLETTA home, it became a safe haven for them for several years. It was also used by the army for a time and in 1948 the Roth schilds gifted the house to the National Trust, with whom it remains to this day. The contents of the house were divided amongst the family, with several important works be ing donated to leading museums, where they are on display to this day.

They stand on French mid-18th century mounts with fine details around the rim, which includes a lizard to the foot and carry an estimate of £4,000-£6,000.

Sam: Your work has a distinct edge. It’s deeply rooted in social issues by tackling the taboo. How do you find the starting point for your Emma:projects? It always begins with my roots and expe rience as a Maltese woman. I start a project with a question that I find hard to answer, often due to the intricacies of the island’s culture and my upbring ing there. Moving to the Netherlands, which is such a free, outspoken country, has forced me to look

Interview /Exhibition/ Malta SAM VASSALLO MALTA

No.19 Artpaper / 024 September - October 2022

Congratulations! How are you feeling about it? Emma: I’m very eager to start my career and transi tion from the art student bubble into the art scene. So far, I’ve been focused on my studies and now I’m ready to build up my network, collaborate and see how I can make my work travel and move around for more people to see. It’s a constant learning experi ence - but it’s super exciting.

Start fromRevolutionayourbed

Sam: You’ve just graduated in Photography from the Royal Academy of Art in the Hague.

Pleasure is power. It’s therefore no surprise that it’s been weaponized into a tool of social shame and oppression. It’s a phenomenon that is not exclusive but definitely visible in Malta’s conservative rooting. Fresh out of art school, Maltese visual artist and activist Emma Grima explores the the power of pleasure in a thought-provoking body of work called The Vulva Monologues. Artpaper’s editor Sam Vassallo caught up with the artist to speak about the project and her career.

Sam: It definitely turned a lot of heads for locals and even foreigners who might’ve not known about Malta’s ban.

Sam: What lessons did you learn from the Vulva Mono Emma:logues?I learnt about the importance of being consciously aware of your sexual journey. I learnt how powerful pleasure is: to gain confidence in yourself and your body, to be communicative with others and yourself, about the power of consent and boundaries. It’s grounding and liberating both personally and politically.

No.19 Artpaper / 025

Sam: What does the work consist of? Emma: It’s based on connections I made with seven women, where we spoke intimately about our thoughts on pleasure, our own experiences with masturbation, our rituals and routines. It all came together in a visual podcast, photographs, film, book and performative piece. The beauty of it is that the work keeps evolv ing.

Sam: What role does the personal and political play in your work? Emma: I’m not an artist that creates personal work, but I use the personal as a driving force. It’s the fire that keeps me going, wanting to know more, diving into research and connecting with people. That’s when the project turns and becomes about them.

What about the Vulva Monologues?

Emma: For the Vulva Monologues, it was about a desire to learn about the power of pleasure. I was going through a breakup, be ginning a new relationship and having a moment in covid to be alone and explore my own sexuality, which led to the groundwork for my final multi-media university project.

Sam: Agreed. So what’s next for Emma Grima?

Emma: I want to bring the work to Malta for the conversation to reach my home and, of course, to keep trying to answer these difficult questions through my art. around, ask questions and think. I find myself drawn to the interplay between the personal and the political.

Sam: How was the reception of it? Emma: I was very grateful - there were 300 other students exhib iting but people really engaged with the space. Some offered their own personal stories, the differences between generations when it comes to owning pleasure and the evolution stigmas and taboos. I feel like it did what it needed to - to spark conversation and help ease stigmas through dialogue.

In Unspoken Truths (2020) for example, I explored what it means to have autonomy over your body, par ticularly as women in a country with a blanket ban on abortion, a highly taboo subject. I took portraits of 44 individuals and captured women with their fists in the air and hangers in the other, which is the symbol for underground, unsafe abortion. It was a collaboration with two great NGOs, Women’s Rights Foundation and Young Progressive Beings, and was displayed on bill boards outside the capital Valletta.

No.19 Artpaper / 027 September - October 2022 Architecture /AI platform ERICA GIUSTA is Director of Innovation at architecture firm AP Valletta. She read for an MA in Architecture, and has a Post-Graduate Master from the Sole24Ore Business School in Milan. She contributes regularly to academic journals and international architecture magazines such as A10 New European Architecture and Il Giornale dell’Architettura. ERICA GIUSTA ORIGINALITY:ARTIFICIAL HOW AN PLATFORMAI PROCESSESCREATIVEREVOLUTIONISECAN MALTA Marine fortress, generated on Midjourney


on Midjourney

Midjourney is the most straight-forward and gratifying of a recent series of AI platforms which made this possible by generating com plex images from a simple text prompt, and which is therefore re sponsible for large part of those intriguing tweets and Instagram posts. A few well-chosen key words, simply typed into a chat box, can in fact initiate a limitless series of possible visualisations of that association of words, within minutes. After the initial inputting of the text prompts, the chatbot offers four different images, each available for upscaling, meaning further detailing, and for varia tions, meaning another set of four images. Each variation can un dergo endless other variations and so on, ad infinitum. Iterations are unlimited and represent the core of the platform’s model: while enticing the user to keep experimenting, they contribute to train ing the AI and therefore lead to a continuous, rapid improvement of the general quality of outcomes – and perhaps to an increased standardization of creative disciplines. This flow of dazzling original images is also one the most intriguing and challenging AI-training exercises ever done. Behind the sim I

on Midjourney

“The role of the architect and designer, after all, is to show something that was not there before. Clearly, artificial intelligence works on this very part: on intuition and visualisation. This does not mean that there will be no more work for us in the future, but that it will certainly change dramatically”

No.19 Artpaper / 028 September - October 2022 Architecture /AI platform MALTA Continued f you are wondering why your social media feeds have suddenly become populated with an unusual amount of evocative artistic images, it’s because sophisticated AI-generated contents are now accessible to anyone with a bit of curiosity, an electronic device and an inter net connection.

A Mediterranean generated A generated


surrealist Mediterranean garden

No.19 Artpaper / 029 plicity of the front-end platform, there are thousands of trillions of operations per image, and a super-computing-pow er which has never been so accessible to almost anyone. The revolutionary aspect of Midjourney lies in its unprec edented accessibility. Even though we have been familiar with notions of deep learning, coding and algorithm design for a while, most of us were not able to directly make use of them, let alone in corporate them in the initial stages of a creative process. The rapidity of this paradigm shift is as astonishing as its results: in less than four years, what was considered ‘AI-generated art’ has gone from sensa tional research project for Ivy League universities, to millions of people’s new favourite hobby. According to David Holz, founder of Midjourney, creative industries professionals represent only 30% of the platform’s users, while the remaining 70% is there for the fun of effortlessly turning any idea into a star tling, beautiful image. That 30% of pro fessional users represents architects, graphic designers and artists who seem to be both attracted and terrified by it in equal measure. On the one hand, Mi djourney offers the possibility to facili tate and improve iterations, crucial to any creative process, and to therefore encourage imagination. On the other hand, it indirectly questions the notion that in any creative discipline, the idea behind a piece, or the concept of a proj ect proposal, counts as much as its final outcomes - if not more.

A floating Mediterranean fortress, generated on Midjourney A surrealist Mediterranean garden, generated on Midjourney

In a recent interview on architecture magazine Domus, Niccolò Casas (archi tect and researcher at Bartlett Univer sity College of London, and author of Plasticity) rightly points out that “the role of the architect and designer, after all, is to show something that was not there before. Clearly, artificial intelli gence works on this very part: on in tuition and visualisation. This does not mean that there will be no more work for us in the future, but that it will cer tainly change dramatically”. How will it change, is not clear yet. What will we be able to do with Midjourney other than creating beautiful 2D concept images? Will the platform be able to switch to 3D content, and therefore be able to plug into more sophisticated software like Rhino? Also, how will copyright is sues of what is produced by the AI be Theseregulated?are just some of the several key questions which will define the nature of the drastic change which Casas de scribes, and which might revolutionise, and even generate, entire creative in dustries.

Marine fortress, generated on Midjourney

No.19 Artpaper / 030 September - October 2022 Spotlight /Ivory Coast / Africa

Laetiky, CC BY-SA 4.0. Photo: Wikimedia Commons E

CHRISTINE XUEREB SEIDU AFRICA very other year, during the Venice Biennale, those of us following the African art scene follow in anticipation as to how many African coun tries or which African countries will be having a pavilion given the lack of representation in general but since their first participation in 2013, I could say that Ivory Coast (Côte d’Ivoire) were quite consistent, miss ing out on just the 56th edition which had the main exhibition ‘All the World’s Futures’ curated by the late Nigerian Okwui Enwezor. Until this month the newly opened Museum of Contemporary Cultures Adama Toungara (MuCAT) ran the exhibition ‘Memoria: Tales of Another History’, a mul tidisciplinary group exhibition with 14 international artists, 6 of whom are Ivorian, among them Joana Choumali, LaFalaise Dion and Valerie Oka. Whilst Choumali uses photography to explore issues of African identity and diversity, Dion and Oka were rather using objects symbolising African identity- LaFalaise Dion’s videos focusing on her signature imagery of the cowrie shell as a form of expressing Africa’s gran deur and sacred identity whilst Valerie Oka worked on restoring the significance of Africa’s artefacts spread across museums worldwide. This thought is very much in line with how the Baule people of Ivory Coast view sculptureserving many functions which can shift over time and within different contexts. These art ists are not new to the interna tional art scene. Lafalaise Dion is known to have designed the ‘Lagbaja’ cowrie shell mask worn by Beyonce in the ‘Spir it’ music video whilst Joana Choumali and Valerie Oka made their debuts at the Ivo rian pavilion of the 57th and 58th Venice Biennale as did many other well established Ivorian artists who are mainly represented by Ivorian inter national art galleries Cecile Fakhoury and LouiSimone Guirandou.

IVORIANS TO THE WORLD: Their ThroughDreamsExpressedRealitiesIntoOfFutureArt

Aboudia, Masquerade #3, mixed media on canvas, 140 x 120 cm, 2019. Photo: Issam Zejly

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Armand Boua, Les môgôs de Poy #1, mixed media on canvas, 100 x 100 cm, 2019. Photo: Issam Zejly

CHRISTINE XUEREB SEIDU founded Christine X Art Gallery in 2004 after a university degree in Art History and Anthropology. She has returned to Malta after a year in Ghana where she explored African art and culture.

Aboudia (Abdoulaye Diarrassouba), represented by Cecile Fakhoury, is one of the artists representing Ivory Coast at this year’s Venice Biennale. He’s perhaps the most widely known artists coming from this recently war-torn country. Inspired by the street culture of Abidjan, his multi-layered violent expressionistic figurative artwork portrays the trauma faced by Ivorians a decade ago as well referencing forms of Vodou. At the national pavilion named ‘The Dreams of a Story’’ at Maga zzino del Sale 3, Dorsoduro 264, he is joined by artists Armand Boua, the late fore father of contemporary African art Frederic Bruly Bouabre, Yeanzi (Saint-Etienne Yeanzi), Laetita Ky and Aron Demetz. Collectively they interpret and represent the socio-economic realities and dreams of the future in Ivory Coast. Armand Boua’s paint and tar paintings and the space created by their removal through scratching is his response to the inhumane treatment of many whilst Laetitia Ky denounced the modern definitions of the contemporary human condition through her hair sculp tures. Yeanzi’s lightboxes depicting icons and symbols are here being transformed from past experiences into powerful expressions for the future. Aron Demetz’s work bring us a more surrealistic dream form through sculptures with fictional and mysterious characters. Many were the Ivorian artists who have had their fair share of exposure in the inter national contemporary art world. These include Ananias Leki Dago, Franck Fanny, Paul Sika, Jems Robert Koko Bi and Kagnedjatou Joachim Silue as well as painters Ernest Duku, Ouattara Watts, Tamsir Dia. Unless you’re heading to Venice anytime until 10th September this year where you could stop by the Ivorian pavilion at Magazzino del Sale 3, Dorsoduro 264, it’ll probably be worth visiting the Ivory Coast’s gallery Cecile Fakhoury with its current exhibition ‘About Now #2- Abidjan: Emerging Artists From Africa and Beyond’ also ending on 10th September. This will be followed by two solo shows- the first is that of artist Thibaut Bouedjoro-Camus with his first solo in Abidjan ‘Bonne Nouvelle’ from the 22nd September to the 27th November and the second is the second solo show of Beninese Romeo Mivekannin in Abidjan from the 23rd September to the 26th November 2022. LouiSimone Guirandou is one of the galleries in the line up of galleries exhibiting at the 10th edition of the 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair in London mid-October. We can’t wait to see which Ivorian artists they, as well as the other African art galleries present, will have exhibiting.

GABRIELE SPILLER is a journalist with an MA in Art Education. She lives in Berlin and Ghajnsielem. Her book 50 Reasons to Love Gozo is an expression of her enthusiasm for Malta’s culture.

By 1890, Liebermann’s stays in the Netherlands, Italy and Munich were be hind him. He had started a family and became president of the Berlin Seces sion. This artists’ association went into confrontation with the Academy School of Painting under Wilhelm II, the Kai

The millionaire who painted poor people


W Liebermann,Max LeideninStevenstift

“My Liebermann. A Homage.” is a presentation on the 175th birthday of the painter who stands for German history like no other. hy are Max Lieb ermann’s paintings still so popular? If you look at his 87-year life (1847 – 1935), you are impressed by the social currents and political changes he had to go through. He was born in Berlin as one of six chil dren into a Jewish industrialist family. But young Max was not interested in prestigious studies like medicine or law. He had to fight hard against his par ents to get into the Art School. Soon the Franco-Prussian War of 1870/71 brought a break and Liebermann served as a medic. The painting “Gänserupfer innen” (Goose Pluckers) dates from the following year. With a bang, the young artist established his reputation as a painter of ugliness. We see eight women completely ab sorbed in their work of plucking the feathers out of slaughtered geese. The sheer size of 118 x 172 metres makes it a statement. But what was revolution ary and scandalised by the press was the depiction of simple peasant women in a format that until then had been re served for sublime religious depictions and glorified history painting. In this painting Liebermann deliberately places light accents on the geese and the wom en’s bonnets and blouses. One can rec ognize the influence of Rembrandt. The experienced collector and railway magnate Strousberg acquires the “ugly” painting. Liebermann’s father in partic ular would never have expected this. The son’s further art studies now have his Theblessing.nextpictures presented by the Alte Nationalgalerie are also realistic and un sentimental. One sees Amsterdam or phan girls and the infant school. In con trast to the cloying portraits of young girls by his contemporary Renoir, Li ebermann shows a simple reality. In his work the women are individuals – not as “Impressionist pin-ups”, but drawn by their hard and monotonous work, dressed in coarse fabrics.



No.19 Artpaper / 033 September - October 2022 Review /Germany / Gallery


No.19 Artpaper / 034 September - October 2022 GERMANY Review /Germany / Gallery

Liebermann died in Berlin in 1935. One is tempt ed to think that he fortunately did not have to live through the worst. His wife Martha took her own life in spring 1943 to avoid deportation to the Ther esienstadt concentration camp. On the spot where the Palais Liebermann stood right next to the Bran denburg Gate there is a memorial stone for her.

Max Liebermann, Haus am Wannsee, 1926, Öl auf Holz © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Nationalgalerie / Jörg P. Anders

The show in the Alte Nationalgalerie reveals how the painter not only advanced artistically, but also anticipated the changing role of women, situations of economic upheaval and political radicalism. “My Liebermann. Eine Hommage.”, Alte Nationalgalerie Berlin. Until 11.11.2022. 13 videos with picture reviews are on the Youtube channel of the Alte Nationalgalerie:

Max Liebermann, Flachsscheuer in Laren, 1887, Öl auf Leinwand © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Nationalgalerie / Andres Kilger

Continued ser, who considered Liebermann an anarchist and a “gutter artist”. In the summers, the family retreated to their villa on Lake Wannsee. “The Garden Bench” and other paintings reflect the harmonious atmosphere even during the First World War, the Revolution and the troubled Weimar Republic. Today, the grounds can be visited again and the Liebermann Villa houses Liebermann’sexhibitions. self-portrait was painted in the “Gold en Twenties”, a time of contradictions. The artist belonged to a privileged rich class while the major ity suffered hardship. He followed the rise of the National Socialist movement closely and was aware that the political promises were pied piper slo gans that ultimately brought Hitler to power. This is where Liebermann’s famous phrase comes in: “I can’t eat as much as I want to vomit.”


How have women artists used photography as a tool of resistance? The exhibition “Our Selves: Photographs by Women Artists from Helen Kornblum” will seek to answer this question. The expectation is to reframe restrictive notions of womanhood, exploring the connections between photography, feminism, civil rights, Indigenous sovereignty, and queer liberation.


Until 8th January 2023

In his own time, the 15th-century Florentine sculptor Donatello was regarded as “the master of masters”. Despite this, there has been no major exhibition devoted to the sculptor’s work for nearly 40 years. This changed in March when a sweeping survey of Donatello’s work opens in Florence at Palazzo Strozzi and at the nearby Museo Nazionale del Bargello, which houses the most important collection of works by the sculptor, including David (around 1440). Smaller incarnations of the show will be seen at the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin in September and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London next year.


Gemäldegalerie, Berlin

Until 2 October 2022


MoMa, New York

Photo: Sccession H. Matisse © David Hockney Musée Matisse Nicephoto François Fernandez

Photo: Sharon Lockhart, Untitled, 2010 © MoMa


Spotlight / Events / Global September - October 2022 EXHIBITIONS A selection of art events from around the world 09.22-10.22 No.19 Artpaper / 036

Musée Matisse

Couture Fantasy invites visitors on a journey into Guo Pei’s creative universe with designs displayed throughout the permanent collection and special exhibition galleries at the Legion of Honor, transforming the museum into a palace of couture. Legion of Honour, San Fransisco

Events until January 2023

Until 5 September 2022

As part of the Nice Art Biennale, the Musée Matisse presents an unprecedented conversation between David Hockney and Henri Matisse. The exhibition HockneyMatisse. Un paradis retrouvé starts with a recent series of flower iPad paintings made by the artist which have not yet been exhibited. The show, curated by Claudine Grammont, then takes the public on a journey through the museum’s permanent collection seen through the lens of David Hockney’s art.

Until 18 September 2022

Space C, Spazju Kreattiv, Pjazza Kastilja Pope Pius V Street Il-Belt Valletta 29.10.22


Valletta Contemporary 15, 16, 17 East Street Valletta, VLT 1253 18.08.22 September 2022

The Richard Ellis Archive consists of 39,000+ glass negatives documenting the period in Malta and Gozo between 1861 and 1938. They have been digitised in archival-grade quality for the first time in their history, and this is the first time they are being printed, the print being the ultimate repository of the photographic process. 30 prints of huge detailed dimensions will be exhibited, allowing the public to experience the depiction of Malta and Gozo as they were 150 years ago for the first time in the archive history, from reaching Malta through the naval aspects of the Grand Harbour to entering the urban fabric of Valletta and Sliema as opposed to the extremely rural fabric of the rest of the country.


The search for raw art, untouched by the corrupting effects of culture, led the artist and art-historian Jean Debuffet to collect, under the heading Art Brut, work made by artists who were outside the established art world. GROUNDWATERS will bring together a collection of artworks and objects made by a similar group of outsider individuals living and working in Malta. GROUNDWATERS will investigate the work’s unique aesthetic logic as well as stories of pain, hope, survival and strength. The exhibition will also include ex-voto paintings, African Fetish dolls and other objects which have their roots in religion, magic and ritual.

The Gold of Malta (L’Or De Malte / Id-Deheb ta’ Malta) is an exhibition of sketches and paintings created when the artist Martine Rigaud-Busuttil spent one year with the Maltese lace-makers of the Malta Society of Arts at the time of COVID-19. Malta Society of Arts, Palazzo de La Salle, 219 Republic Street, Valletta

Until 22 November 2022 SHADOWS AND LIGHTTHE WILFRID FLORES ARCHIVE Wilfrid Flores (1912-1981) ’s photographic work needs to be seen within the context of its time from around the late 1920’s until his death in 1981. A master of his craft and an inventive and technically skilled darkroom printer his contribution to photography in Malta cannot be overstated.His intention was not to document Malta (as many others were doing) but to go beyond the document towards a more contemplative reading of his photographs. By doing so he left us a testament of a time in Maltese history. His quasi-romantic relation to nature speaks to us of a calm and serenity that in today’s world is all but lost. His empathy for the people he photographed, and for the human condition as a whole, raises uncomfortable questions about our own society that has veered towards an obsessive exaltation of the self. Curated by David Pisani. Christine X Art Gallery, Sliema, 17, Tigne Street, Sliema

Until 7



Photo: Gabriel Zammit

Events until November 2022

S Spotlight /Africa / Budapest June - October 2021 Spotlight / Events / Malta VISUAL EXHIBITIONSART A selection of curated events in Malta September - October 2022 09.22-10.22 No.19 Artpaper / 038 09.09.22

Us Maltese

For anyone passionate about their art or craft, a long stretch of time away from that art form feels like an eternity, fingers starting to itch to create. That absence proves how important their art is to them, and that the urge to create is utterly pure and strong, and very much a necessity. This was very much the case for Debbie Caruana Dingli and the creation of the present collection of watercolours. to with infobox

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For anyone passionate about their art or craft, a long stretch of time away from that art form feels like an eternity, fingers starting to itch to create. That absence proves how important their art is to them, and that the urge to create is utterly pure and strong, and very much a necessity. This was very much the case for Debbie Caruana Dingli and the creation of the present collection of watercolours.

Us Maltese

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