Solo exhibition il-ħajja explores narratives transmitted through the cycle of life

Il-ħajja opened its doors at the Malta Society of Arts in Valletta, showcasing a collection of works by Gozitan Artist and Sculptor Mario Agius. Curator Elyse Tonna gives us an insight on the theme behind Mario’s work in relation to the title of the exhibition which translates to ‘Life’.  

“Those would at times observe in tree trunks, clumps of earth or other objects of this sort, certain outlines which through some light changes could be made to resemble a natural shape”.

Leon Battista Alberti

Focusing on the depictions of life and essential states of being, il-ħajja explores narratives transmitted through various elements associated with the cycle of life through materiality, symbolism and sculpture. The body of work presented by Mario Agius investigates what it is to be human, showcasing a certain affinity to the natural processes of human development and life through its primarily expressionistic nature. At heart to the artist’s work is an exploration of figurative elements as vessels for the eternal soul, where various representations of the body are direct reflections of fundamental human experiences, spirituality and emotions. The artist also brings to focus and questions anthropocentric subjects about the nature of existence and reality through the use of natural materials such as wood, stone and marble. 

The essential states of being such as birth, youth, procreation and old age also allude to the artist’s inner psychological thoughts and personal experiences, transposing the exhibition to an introspective and a process of self-reflection. Agius further resorts to mimetic tendencies as they appear in nature tending towards the humanistic and naturalistic which are conveyed through sculptural elements and articulated with flowing and continuous lines. Alluding to primitive sculpture, the parallelisms conveyed between the reflections on the essential meanings of life and their interpretation are guided by the haptic suggestiveness of tree trunks and natural rock formations. The intuitive projections of the artist’s inner sensations also draw in the concept of empathy, whereby the artistic process is driven by the artist’s previous cognitive experiences which subjected him to develop and define his repertory of physical manifestations. Exploited by prehistoric artists and also primitive art styles such as African art,  the inherent form of tree trunks facilitates the production of figurative forms, the soul of the tree itself projected through humanistic representations.

Il-ħajja is an exhibition whereby our senses are shifted beyond the materiality of the figures being represented and towards further understanding of the meaning of life, representing the need for continuous growth. It showcases radiantly charged intersections between the material and the ineffable soul. The cycles of life are ultimately universal issues which have been experienced throughout centuries, and so will they remain.

Text by Curator Elyse Tonna

Exhibition is open until the  19th May 2022 at Malta Society of Arts,  Palazzo de la Salle, Republic Street,Valletta. 

Mondays- Friday: 08.00 to 19.00hrs

Saturdays: 09.00 to 13.30 hrs. 

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