CUBE: Manipulations by Sarah Maria Scicluna

ARTZ ID reached out to Sarah Maria Scicluna about her ongoing solo exhibition CUBE: Manipulations happening this month at Desko, Valletta. Sarah is known for her silk screen printing, while often using digital media as a starting point. We are particularly drawn to how she continuously explores ritual, systems and space, placing a lot of importance on the actual process of her work. Read below to learn more about her latest project. 

Photo credits Tarunima Sen Chandra

In your upcoming exhibition ‘CUBE: Manipulations’ as the title suggests, you will be exploring possible manipulations of this form. Can you tell us more about how this process fits with your practice and how your interest in the cube came about?

I have always been interested in geometric shapes, particularly the square. As time passed, I started to be very interested in the space that various forms occupy, and this was a natural progression towards the exploration of the cube. I find the cube to be a very interesting shape to play around with as it has multiple sides which allow for a lot of playing around, while it is also regular, unlike any other hexahedra, making it quite special. This allows it to sit comfortably from any angle it’s viewed from, while being compliant enough to allow for manipulation. In this work, the form of the cube is explored in multiple ways and from different viewing points. I approach my artwork in a manner which is not different from the process of ‘play’. The cube is opened, torn apart, joined together, and completely dismantled in these works, allowing this form to at times become other forms completely, even though they all have the same starting point.

Repetition is a constant feature in my work, and this continued to manifest itself both in the choice of the printmaking medium, silk screen in this case, as well as in the subject of representation, a form which is repeated throughout. In this body of work, I kept this same approach, however, this time specifically exploring the cube itself, and how it can be manipulated, and what forms and shapes are achieved as a result.

Sarah's studio, photo credits Traunima Sen Chandra

Do you have a favourite piece among the ones you will be exhibiting? If so, why is it particularly special to you?

This is particularly difficult to answer, as I feel quite attached to each of these works for different reasons. At some point one is my favourite, and after a week, another one is, as each of these works is doing something different. However, at the moment I must admit that I’m particularly attached to ‘Aligned’ and ‘Unboxed’. This might of course, change in a couple of days.

Aligned by Sarah Maria Scicluna

The exhibition was supposed to take place in June but had to be postponed due to the pandemic. Can you tell us more about the challenges that your project encountered due to the current situation and how you managed to work around those challenges?

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, this exhibition had to be postponed which was quite heart breaking at the time. Besides all the rearrangements and the uncertainty from an organization stand point, this affected other factors which were integral to the exhibition. For example, I couldn’t finish any of the promotional material or promote it since I was not able to confirm the dates because of the ever-changing situation. Also, I was meant to be printing the work during March and April, but due to the shutdown of non-essential shops, I was not able to purchase various materials needed for silk screen which ran out during  printing, since these could only be bought from specialized shops, and not from any art shop. This obviously, set back the production of the works. Regarding other problems such as the opening event, and running an exhibition during a pandemic, these were solved by having an opening day rather than the traditional opening night, thus allowing more time and having a  smaller concentration of people.  Also, social distancing and mask use are required for visiting. While considerably more complicated than normal times, it is still possible to organise an exhibition nowadays, as long as one is careful and respectful to others.

Unboxed by Sarah Maria Scicluna

And finally, do you have other projects already in the pipeline, to follow this exhibition? If so, are you able to share what we should expect to see/hear from you in the near future?

I have other projects which are based on this premise; that of exploring various forms and structures, and the imaginary space that they occupy on the various constructed planes on the flat surface. Expect many more lines and monochromatic geometric works, however, this time, circles, organic shapes and different textures will be featured as well, in a more complex and playful manner.

Make sure to drop by at Desko, in Valletta to visit CUBE: Manipulations, open until the 28th October 2020. 

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