Patrick Dalli and Melanie Erixon on the significance of ‘Din hi li hi’ exhibition and works
What does your solo exhibition ‘Din hi li hi’ signify for you?
Patrick: As the Exhibition name implies, ‘IT IS WHAT IT IS’, and I am here showing my real self and my love for the human figure and the nude. This is my first solo exhibition in Malta after 11 years. My latest solo exhibitions were in Spoleto, San Marino and Bergamo.
Melanie: Compared to Dalli’s other solo exhibitions which were aimed at his more known large-scale nudes, here we chose to exhibit smaller works, which complement the Kamra Ta’ Fuq so much.
What is your favorite piece of artwork in the collection and why?
Patrick : It is hard for an artist to choose his or her favourite piece. I love all my works and consider them as my children, thus making it impossible to choose.
Melanie : It is definitely not easy to say which one is my favourite, but let’s say that there were at least three that when I saw them, made my heart skip a beat. The ‘red oil on canvas’ nude, the portrait, and what I like to call the ‘3 graces’ executed in pen and watercolour. The latter is probably my absolute favourite. I love the composition, how Dalli chose to play around with the void of the paper. The three nudes seem to be in their own world, gossiping maybe? and looking at something which only they can observe. However, thanks to the void on the paper, the viewer can imagine anything he or she wants and fill the composition accordingly in one’s imagination.
What should the viewer expect to see? How do the works that will be shown build on and depart from previous projects?
Melanie: This exhibition is proposing a selection of drawings that portray the freshness and crispness of Dalli’s style – from drawings and ‘primi pensieri’ to beautifully finished works – all executed during sittings with models at his studio. It’s all about the human figure, the austere use of the line, the spontaneity, the rapid strokes and the shrewdly applied dabs of paint.
Patrick: For me, this exhibition is a continuation of my work and research in portraying the nude. Actually, in this exhibition, there are works also from earlier years. With the curator, we tried to show works that are based on the same theme but executed in different media. In fact, there are two drawings in charcoal, some works in pen and watercolour, others in charcoal and watercolour, one work in mixed media (a portrait, which is quite different from the rest) and two works executed in oil on canvas.
What’s next for Patrick Dalli?
Patrick: Next is a major solo exhibition, again in Malta, at the Museum of Archaeology, organized by the VCA.
Next year I will be exhibiting a series of Landscapes – my newly found inspiration during the Covid-19 restrictions – which will be held at the MSA and curated by Roderick Camilleri.