The Malta Independent 26 November 2022, Saturday
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Sunday, 25 September 2022, 09:18 Last update: about 2 months ago

Melanie Erixon

At il-Kamra ta' Fuq, we strive to always provide an eclectic programme of exhibitions and our next exhibition shall not disappoint!  

Thread is a collective exhibition by three young artists - Ebru Çinar, Stefan Spiteri and Bernice Vassallo - who use thread and fabric as one of their media. Thread is not a very common medium and I admit I was quite positively surprised to see numerous artworks in fabric, thread and various textiles at the 59th edition of the Venice Biennale just a week ago.


Our three artists experiment a lot with the use of thread in their oeuvre. Apart from this medium, they are also bound by the thematic of nature and organic forms which are frequently present in their works.

We opted for the title Thread as it has a dual meaning here. It is the main medium in a number of these works which helps in bringing out the organic, made up sometimes of figurative leaves, and at other times, the thread is representing a series of paths creating subconscious or conscious fragmented labyrinths, all creating a harmonious tangible and intangible real but surreal spaces.

By Ebru Çinar

By Ebru Çinar

By Ebru Çinar and Imren Rahbay

Who are the three artists? And what to expect to see in this exhibition?

I first came across Çinar's works, one fine morning, while scrolling mindlessly on Instagram before my first dose of coffee. I was so stunned by her works, I had to contact her immediately (purchasing two of her artworks and I was so excited that I even skipped the coffee).

Çinar was born in Turkey and her works reflect the techniques she learnt from her mother but which she then started employing in a modern context and with a contemporary twist. This was enhanced following a period of time living in Poland which also inspired her a lot.

She is mostly known by her brand name "byebrucinar" and her style varies from creating original compositions fully or partly executed in thread. Probably her most iconic works being the re-interpretations and "conversations" she creates on pre-existing photos but introducing her ideas and twisted narratives with the use of thread.

In Thread she will exhibit works which show complex figurative compositions where, thanks to the medium of the thread, she's creating a certain flatness in perspective and an uneasy yet alluring lack of spatiality, which makes the storyline more intriguing and dreamlike.

An artwork, executed in collaboration with artist Imren Rahbay, which was previously exhibited in 2021 in the exhibition Phenotype "Embroidery on analog" and portrays a head in profile, covered with a web of what can be perceived as cerebral veins, ties up wonderfully with one of the works exhibited by Vassallo.

By Bernice Vassallo

By Bernice Vassallo

Vassallo's work is quite abstract, playing with organic forms created through shape and colour. Her passion for textiles has influenced most of the work she produced; using both synthetic and found materials to imitate reality by manipulating fabric and transform it into organic forms, which allows her to focus on textures, colours and composition.

She explains that "experimenting with textiles and thread is stimulating, as it enables exploration of different handling and manipulation techniques". Her inspiration comes mostly from her weekly walks, where her surroundings become the muse to create these pieces representing different subjects and textures.

Vassallo's works show mastery of the art of sewing, as can be seen in the pieces presented in Thread. Some of the compositions are akin to veins or paths which are intertwining and captivating as much as a labyrinth of delicate yet powerful cobwebs.

Her works in this exhibition have a deeper meaning than just the beautiful aesthetic that meets the eye. In fact, the thread has a very specific meaning for Vassallo. "It is used to mimic the structure of the mycorrhizal species; a symbiotic relationship which creates a web of communication between plants, helping them to survive on periodically dry and hostile land surfaces. Sheer fabric is being used to serve as the binder which holds this 'relationship' together; its transparency allows for layering, representing different compositions and different strata of land and these mycorrhizae."

By Stefan Spiteri

By Stefan Spiteri

Spiteri doesn't need much introduction. He took part in numerous prestigious collective exhibitions and had his debut solo exhibition last year at Valletta Contemporary, titled On the Nature of Painting. Spiteri is experimenting a lot with thread and textiles. His work Rockpool, executed in reused textile, is currently being exhibited at Bureau Iniala, in the collective exhibition The Summer Showcase and is an excellent example of his understanding of this medium.

However, in Thread, he will be exhibiting a series of small-scale artworks executed in oil on canvas mounted on boards. The series is titled Lost Trail and Spiteri compares it to a maze composed of one or numerous paths which would normally indicate a start and an end, or the goal of a journey. But, in these works, there is no such indication of a beginning and an end but simply a complexity of fragments of an even more complex network of paths or intricate passages. Though I do feel that sometimes the artist is leaving a little hint of thread - almost reminiscent of Ariadne's thread which helped Theseus find his way out of the labyrinth - which can be observed in Lost Trail 10, 11, 12 of the series.

By Stefan Spiteri

Although his works are not employing the thread as the actual medium, Spiteri's works are in themselves creating the bond between the works of the other two artists, where the organic is highlighted in the use of leaves, and strategically positioned semi-concealed paths; along with the fascination for the linear are in themselves creating a beautiful dialogue between all the works, which enhances this invisible thread forming a loop between all the works in this exhibition.

The pictures surrounding this write-up don't do justice to these works. One needs to experience in person the textile finish - sometimes rough and raw and at times almost a polished surface - of Çinar's works, the delicate balance of the elaborate thread designs concocted by Vassallo, juxtaposed on fabric or miraculously framed to perfection, and the captivating vibrancy of the colours that jut out from Spiteri's pieces which create this surreal almost hypnotic maze.

The exhibition is curated by Melanie Erixon and Darren Tanti for Art Sweven.


'Thread' is being held at il-Kamra ta' Fuq in Mqabba and will run until 17 October. Open every day until noon and twice a week from 7 to 9pm. For more info and updates, follow on Facebook: il-Kamra ta' Fuq




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