"BitterSweet on the Tongue" is a series of photographs that revolve around identifying universal feelings of desire and loss, the spectrum that exists between them and their union.
"BitterSweet on the Tongue" developed naturally by capturing images within personal environments and of people I’m close to, grouped together due to their common mood and tension; wanting something back that is lost, or close... but yet not close enough. The photographs have similar elements of subtle lighting, toned down colours, and a safe distance between them and the viewer. Together they produce a guarded atmosphere acting as a defence to their vulnerability, honesty and confrontation.
Their tension and duality were further enhanced by later joining the various images into diptychs, in an attempt to create a dialogue between them through their opposition. The space between the diptychs creates ambiguity, and gains importance as it allows room for the viewers personal experiences to come into play.
“Commercial Feelings” is made up of standard A4 size collages, in which various current aspects of identity such as; sentiments, religion, traditions, gender, and sexuality, are examined through our relationship with them.
The series started in the form of thoughts written in condensed sentences, later illustrated with public domain images and words made in Microsoft Word. These two easily available sources were intentionally used in order to create a commercial aesthetic, that is contrasted by sentences of a plain honest, tongue-in-cheek or humorous tone.
This collation becomes a visual reflection of how we currently tackle certain emotions and topics with a fluctuating serious and trivial attitude; the intention is to subtly ask for attention and resonance.
“Interrupted Rhythm” is a narration of the interactions between three men, how their individual worries interplay, and multiple inconsistencies of what they are to each other.
The series is a rejection of the romanticised homoeroticism and that the journey of male seuxal maturity is somewhat smooth and without distress. Subsequently, the opting for an ambiance of angst and uncertainty becomes an indication of the opposite of such ideas.
Starting from written reflections on such subjects, the work became shaped by its lengthy process; changing locations, experimentations, introduction of props and lighting, various character interactions, and ultimately changing to black and white. It later became evident that it was a search for a visual representation of isolation, becoming a key compositional component.
A main element of my work is the possibility for the viewer to relate; these characters within their ambiguous environment may become a place for personal demons, especially within a homosexual context.
The social constructs we’ve created shape various aspects of our lives and the world we live in. “We-Made-We” is series in which two in particular are analysed, gender and political borders.
The first part of the series is made of macro photographs of miniature figure’s that are used for architectural models. The figures original function is to represent us, but they also carry the dichotomy of trying to portray us but not fully managing to. Their most interesting aspect is how they stereotypically portray gender; the women are wearing dresses, have curly long hair and slim hourglass physiques. The men are taller, have broad shoulders, muscular bodies, short hair, and are wearing shirts and suits. Through examination, the manufactured figures’ original meaning and context changes and becomes an amplifier that gender is also man made.
The second part of the series is composed of two photographs in which the models are placed on a divided surface. The black surface has been cut by tracing a political border in mainland Europe, from a map. Again, the figures bear our portrayal but their representation changes from that of gender to nationality. In the last photograph, the two groups of figures are divided by a strip made of light. This asks the question; once this light is “switched off”, are these two groups still so separate from each other? And were they in the first place?
165, Via Del Anamnesi, Gzira, Reggio Calabria, 1709
These memories were recovered in a non-chronological order using the method of automatic writing. The nature of the process allowed me to gain momentum, recovering more and more information about specific personal events. The paragraphs act as a starting point to be later visualized metaphorically rather than directly, through the medium of collages, constructed and reconstructed from various unrelated pictures found online to form one single image.
The various characters are placed in a domestic setting which represents the “familiar”, and this is the reason why the title is a made-up address. On the other hand their actions create the contrasting effect of the “peculiar”. This allows the viewers to create their own assumptions and stories of what each individual painting can possibly narrate, perhaps relating them to their own meaningful memories.
The paintings are part of a larger body of collages, but due to the reason that they were made and rushed within a time-limiting academic setting, only three were chosen and depicted. For this reason this body of work is currently being revisited and remade under the titled “Playhouse”, with the aim to be completed by 2020.
“Superstitions” was commissioned by Banif Bank Malta Plc, under the project entitled “Meditgħid”, celebrating various aspects of the Mediterranean and its many cultures. It is a series of four illustrations that have been created with the distinctive qualities of embroidery on linen as support, rather than with traditional mediums that are commonly used for illustrations.
Coming from a Southern Italian background, superstitions can still be found being practiced to this day, usually by older generations. I became interested in finding out if other countries within the Mediterranean still do. The series depicts four superstitions, namely from Turkey, Cyprus, Albania and Egypt, which are still popular and practiced to this day. The first illustration is a Turkish superstition which states; if a friend gives you a knife as a gift, give them a coin to prevent a fight in the future. The second illustration is a Cyprian superstition, as well as a common one; if someone is unfortunate enough to cross paths with a black cat, they will be cursed for the entire day. The third superstition is from Albania which dictates that if one hangs a stuffed animal on the door of their house, it has the power to ward off evil. The last superstition is practiced in Egypt and claims that if a house is considered haunted, the best solution would be to hang an old shoe on one of its walls which will bring happiness back to its inhabitants.
Today, technology has dominated most of our life, bringing with it negative and positive outcomes. “Refracted light” was a commissioned mural by MITA (Malta Information Technology Agency) to celebrate their Twenty-Fifth Anniversary since its formation in 1990, by celebrating technology itself. The mural is a commemoration of fibre optics which nowadays has become the main way of transferring information, gaining many uses in our homes, from telephones, cable TV, to Internet access. “Refracted Light” is a physical representation of how information travels in the form of light through each individual fibre-optic as internal refractions. The internal refractions form angles which have been abstracted and turned into triangles. The triangular tiles, made from white earthenware clay have been glazed with a gloss finish in order to reflect light, creating a shimmering effect as a representation of information traveling in the form of light from one tile to another. In a way this piece is interactive as the shimmering effect can only be achieved if the viewer is moving in front of it.
The Spotlight Effect
“The Spotlight Effect” developed from researching fear which unintentionally led to phobias, specifically Social Anxiety Disorder which is an extreme fear of social interaction.
The research led to finding an article in which diagnosed individuals were asked to describe how the disorder affects them on a day to day basis. A common paranoia is that sufferers feel that others in their surroundings are constantly observing their every move through a judgmental lens. “The Spotlight Effect” is an attempt to create a tangible portrayal of what that may feel like. The artwork is made out of around a hundred domed hexagons that interlock together, glazed with a highly reflecting gloss black which reflects the surroundings in detail. Once the viewer stands in front of them, they will be reflected on every single hexagon, which act like pupils, observing their every move.
The title, “The Spotlight Effect” is a physiological term for a phenomenon in which a person thinks that they are being constantly noticed, which corresponds with anecdotal experiences of those who suffer from social anxiety.