The Archetype Series
January 12 @ 8:00 am - February 12 @ 5:00 pm
The Archetype Series
solo exhibition by Norbert Francis Attard
curated by Ann Dingli
2nd December 2021 – 12th February 2022
Wed – Sat | 14:00 – 19:00
The Archetype Series is a fifteen-piece collection of diminutive structures, each built from four-sided measuring rulers, appropriated and given new meaning and metaphor by artist Norbert Francis Attard. The series finds lineage the practice of found object art or objet trouvé, with strong links to symbolist, minimalist and conceptual art canons. Its point of departure is the object itself – a foldable tool known as a multi-angle template scale ruler. The ruler has been re-purposed as a foundational element in the creation of Attard’s ‘archetypes’. Each of the fifteen is presented as a vessel for wider social, cultural, political even metaphysical commentary. With each singular structure, Attard’s excerpted forms unlock ideas around a broad range of subject-matter – from the poetics of geometry to the transcendence of nature, the inescapability of pop cultural iconography, and the bleeding relationship between low and high culture. The series’ commonality lies in its offering of symbols, or ‘archetypes’, as custodians of deeper meaning.
The series’ title converses with the legacy of Plato’s concept of ‘pure form’, which is believed to embody the fundamental characteristics of any given thing. Plato’s Theory of Forms discusses the physical world as a mere image of what is ‘real’, a mimesis of ultimate reality that exists beyond what is material. Plato’s Forms are abstract, perfect, and constant – they supersede time and space and exist in the Realm of Forms. Attard sets off from this point of purity, proposing ‘purity of form’ as an initial phase in the creation of the series.
The series also takes on the meaning of the word ‘archetype’ as a recurring symbol. This definition is honoured by the series’ uniform black colour, silver fixings and metal material, which remains constant across each individual structure. This formal consistency gives space back to the structures’ symbolic references. The ‘archetype’ therefore becomes the carrier of amplified ideas; the object is a mere framework – power is transferred from ‘object’ to ‘idea’ within the moment of reading. This transference shifts between abstraction and exactness across the different structures.
The weight of this series lives beyond its physicality. It is energised by allegory, superstition, folklore, critique, and at times lamentation. It also exists in the fullness of the collection, the decision to include fifteen pieces itself inferring meaning onto the work. The number fifteen is taken up as a final symbol that lives alongside the visual metaphors carried by each structure. Beyond the series, the significance of the number fifteen permeates into popular culture belief systems with an energy that Attard responds to and connects with. In Numerology, which is a belief in the mystical relationship between numbers and coinciding events, the number fifteen is tied to curiosity and exploration, love, new beginnings, and positivity. These are all conditions tied to the context in which The Archetype Series was made.
Entrance is free
Subject to Covid-19 measures
15, 16, 17, Triq Lvant (East Street), Valletta, VLT1253, Malta