Yesterday we had the pleasure to visit this exhibition right in the centre of Rabat. The first solo exhibition by Etienne Farrell, a collection of 31 works in various media that include metal, clay relief, photography, videography and watercolour. Each work forms part of the narration the artist is putting light upon, or rather a stigma which takes us back to the 17th century. The title originates from a French almanac in which a character, Lustucru, a blacksmith who turned brain surgeon. In this exhibition Etienne is using the story behind ‘Lustucru’ in a contemporary context, relating it to current ongoing stigmas that we still face in this day and age. The exhibition explores unconventionality; the feeling of being misunderstood and misinterpreted, failing to fit into the rigid lines dictated by society. Tapping into concealment, spirituality, and suffering. The mask is probably one of the strongest symbolic objects used whereby women and girls are seen hiding behind it, hiding their true identity. Etienne Farrell tells us more about the concept behind her first solo exhibition and her upcoming projects, which we will definitely keep an eye for!
Your current exhibition LUSTUCRU explores the wide range of human emotions through a wide range of artistic media. Can you tell us more about this?
LUSTUCRU is all about unconventionality. It explores human emotions, especially when one feels that they do not resonate with the usual norms dictated by society. The works portray suffocation, apathy, helplessness, preoccupations, concealment, and suffering. Different media allowed me to better explore and portray moods and feelings.
Let’s talk about the name of the exhibition and the story behind it. Is ‘lustucru’ a real word or did you create it yourself?
LUSTUCRU originated in 17th century France through a satire that made it clear that any woman with a mind of her own was guaranteed a graphically brutal straightening out. Luscutru first appeared in an almanac as a blacksmith, turned brain surgeon, who could “fix” difficult wives’ brains. In fact, the name itself is the slurring of a stock phrase L’eusses-tu-cru; “Would you have believed it?” – in this case, “Would you have believed that a woman’s brain could be fixed?
You’re also collaborating with the voluntary sector through this exhibition. Can you tell more about this initiative?
I am the first artist to use the new exhibition space, which is also a Voluntary Centre, which is being offered by the Malta Council for the Voluntary Sector. It is a very interesting concept, where artists team up with a voluntary organisation, to raise awareness and funds through art. For LUSTUCRU I chose ALS Malta.
Finally, are you working on any exciting projects that we should look out for?
Lustucru, hosted by the Malta Council of the Voluntary Sector, St Bartholomew Street