Norbert Attard launches ‘Soap to think with’ at Gozo Contemporary
The awaited launch of ‘Soap to think with’ opened its doors to the public yesterday evening, 1st of April. A solo exhibition by Norbert Francis Attard, curated by Ann Dingli, at Gozo Contemporary, with a special dedication to the artist’s late partner Marisa Vella.
SOAP TO THINK WITH chronicles the artworks and subject-matter of a comprehensive solo exhibition by artist Norbert Francis Attard, encompassing a breadth of multi-media work spanning just over two and a half years in the making. The show’s works and catalogue will interrogate three driving themes: the Covid-19 pandemic; political and financial corruption in Malta; and the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. Attard’s treatment of these themes begins from a universal and global perspective, threads through spheres of collective thought, and finally zones into individual analysis. Each theme is catechised through works that link with canons of conceptual art, objet trouvé, light art, photography, sculpture, and graphic art. In his selection of subject-matter, Attard builds a retrospective comment around the wider and ongoing question of human ethics – his work grapples with the major traumas and moral dilemmas that have plagued communities both worldwide and locally in Malta. Their commentary addresses events that occurred over substantial stretches of time, as well as those that took place within the space of a moment.
The works comprising SOAP TO THINK WITH tackle some of the most urgent, lasting events and themes of recent history, together acting as a contemplative edict on how human beings live today. They accordingly function as a capsule of reflection for Malta and beyond – a longform comment on the way humanity contends with the most arduous tests and trials of our time.
NORBERT FRANCIS ATTARD (b. 1951) is based on the island of Gozo (Malta) and since 2010 in Berlin (Germany). He started as a self-taught painter and graphic artist before turning to installation art in 1997. He graduated in Architecture from the University of Malta in 1977, practicing the profession as architect for twenty years until 1996. Attard’s contemporary art practice incorporates architecture, sculpture, photography, video and installation, to explore his major interests in places and their memories. He deliberately combines social, cultural, political, scientific and religious themes with a bold arrangement of unorthodox materials, meticulously constructed with an architect’s disciplined eye for detail. He investigates elements of irony, duality, dichotomy and ambivalence and combines every-day materials and found objects in diverse manners.
He is currently director of GOZO Contemporary since 2001 – an art space, offering self-directed residencies to international and local artists, on the island of Gozo. He is also the founder of the Norbert Francis Attard Foundation (formerly known as the META Foundation), the organising body of Valletta Contemporary (established in April 2018). He is currently the artistic director of Valletta Contemporary.
Ann Dingli is a Maltese art writer based in London with an M.A. in Art History (University of Malta) and an M.A. in Design Writing (University of the Arts, London). Her areas of studies have ranged from art criticism in mid-century Maltese media, to the artistry of Maltese modernist architecture, to evolving mediums of ‘place-writing’.
Ann Dingli is a freelance writer, editor and design content strategist. She has written for New London Quarterly, Artpaper, The Architect, The Times of Malta, and Materialist Magazine amongst others and has edited two books on design and art. She has interviewed contemporary artists working in the US, Germany, Canada, the UK, and Australia. Dingli graduated with a B.A. and M.A. in Art History from the University of Malta, and an M.A. in Design Criticism from the University of the Arts, London. As a content writer, her clients include RIBA Stirling Prize-winners dRMM Architects (UK), and AIA Gold Winners Adjaye Associates (UK, US, GH). Dingli has worked on a variety of projects of different scale and scope with non-profit organisations, gallery owners, artists, photographers, zine publishers, graphic designers, media start-ups, architects, and entrepreneurs. She is content writer and editor for Valletta Contemporary.
SOAP TO THINK WITH
240 page hardbound publication in full colour.
Printed in Lithuania
Includes artist’s statement.
Prologue by Gabriel Zammit
Texts: Paul Sant Cassia, Ann Dingli, Nikki Petroni
Published by Valletta Contemporary.
Funded by the Norbert Francis Attard Foundation