The Malta Independent 26 September 2021, Sunday

‘Fuga Modus’ at Il-Kamra ta’ Fuq in Mqabba

Thursday, 29 July 2021, 10:52 Last update: about 3 months ago

Joyce Camilleri is the Maltese contemporary artist behind the current exhibition on show at Il-Kamra ta' Fuq in Mqabba, curated by Art Sweven. The artist, who recently participated in an artist-in-residence programme at Muza, is exhibiting a novel body of work conceived throughout 2020 and 2021; at a time when travelling was not an option.

Camilleri defines the choice of the title for this exhibition, Fuga Modus, in English Flight Mode, as a natural consequence to most recent circumstances. According to the artist this body of work indeed recalls the moment we switch our mobile phones on flight mode once the aeroplane takes off; the urge to flee away from a reality that betrays our expectations; the need for nature when the city becomes claustrophobic. The beauty of nature depicted in these images remains untarnished by human presence; an absence that is however rendered questionable by the presence of the artist as a silent visual reporter; these images are the sheer embodiment of the omnipresence of humanity even in its visual absence.


These works mark a turning point in Camilleri's artistic practice, which is usually inspired by human forms, possibly as a reaction to her ongoing practice of life drawing. These works were in fact created when the life class was paused due to the pandemic; a circumstance that did not stop the artist from pursuing her artistic practice. On the contrary, she found inspiration in less figurative forms of studio research that dealt more with the materiality of the medium rather than the perusal of a subject or predetermined theme. Camilleri describes this last year-and-a-half as a full immersion into her artistic practice. Her home studio became her repository of ideas on paper. Her work evolved through the thorough manipulation of the printmaking technique; whose boundaries were pushed further, thus moving away from more traditional printmaking practices that she had mastered at the Malta School of Art. For this purpose, in summer 2020, Camilleri bought her very own printing press with the intent to dedicate more time experimenting with the printing medium as a tool rather than a mere technique.

The works on show are the fruit of a love for the chromatic incompleteness of drawing, which is then balanced out by a richness of textures emerging in the printed components, ink wash interventions and painstakingly uncovered areas of raw paper. Camilleri is passionate about paper, being the ground she works mostly on. She considers it a most naturally beautiful yet unforgiving material that challenges her technical skills as an artist, while providing the ideal ground for her preferred media that are specifically engineered for paper. The exhibited works were produced on a variety of paper types, weights and finishes that Camilleri would meticulously select with specific yet varied artistic intents in mind. She states: "I improvise and experiment a lot and hate being caught unequipped, hence I would always make sure I have the right materials and media readily available for whichever idea comes to mind."

Camilleri's exhibition is open to the public until 16 August. The artist will be mostly present on site to interact with visitors and discuss the artistic process in further detail.


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