With summer just around the corner and the return of spring once again, Maltese artist Gabriel Buttigieg explores his own interpersonal values together with universal perspectives in his multi-layered works, The Four Seasons. The archetypal imagery can be found alongside the collaboration of Sarah Chircop’s video installation, Mother Mundane. An exceptional input introduced in the exhibit’s catalogue is poetic interpretations of the seasons by four talented Maltese authors. All efforts have been brought together by the skillful curator Justine Balzan Demajo.
The seasons have always been a point of interest to humankind. Whether in science, various cultures, or astrology, nature is a link to human influence. Buttigieg’s curiosity around this topic is not new, yet these larger-than-life-size, tapestry-like paintings with their gestural lines and bursts of colour offer the viewer a world of symbolism. They are expressively drawn or painted until the very ends of their canvases. The multi-layers come together in a disorderly way where ancient symbols, mythology, references to religious narratives, and the depths of psychology bring Buttigieg’s original yet relatable narration to life.
The decipherable compositions illustrate indirect female archetypes which are considered the divine feminine. Inherently, they complement a spiritual undertone. Unlike the stereotypical impression that each season has relative to the life cycle, Buttigieg’s works advocate neither a beginning nor an end. On the contrary, the artworks invite the viewer to construe each season making up the four works, to a level of his or her own understanding. The works act as a provocation. They make us question the self. The good, the bad, and the ugly.
Buttigieg’s initial journey in this project had its focal point on hedonism, redemption, the fall of man, and the inclusion of the historic importance of a selective few Gods. These themes although having paved the way for The Four Seasons are still felt in his assemblage of the present works. Summer (On the Tower and Pan copulating with a Goat), is a title in which the mythological God Pan is mentioned. Pan, the God who is affiliated with sex is also the God affiliated with spring and not summer. It is a clever indication of Buttigieg breaking the beliefs of amalgamations, in particular, the seasons and life cycles. Another association to Buttigieg’s initial idea is seen in Spring (On the Ace of Cups and Questions Related to Love) where the biblical character of Eve can be found underneath the forbidden tree of life.
In the catalogue of The Four Seasons, Joseph Cassar writes and exposes the beliefs of others, regarding the meaning of winter. The idea is that whether in literature or art, whether in the far or recent past, a meaning becomes subject to diversity based on the individual. Buttigieg sends us in this direction with the compelling force of The Four Seasons.
Opening hours: Monday to Friday: 16:00 – 19:00, Saturday: 10:00 – 13:00
Location: 38, East Street, Valletta