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Corpus Adflictum

3 Nov

The last couple of months have been a nice drive towards the solo exhibition of the much talented artist Aaron Bezzina. It has been an honour to be involved into this process. Challenge and being challenged led to an amazing result for all involved. It has also be a joy to do this curatorship with Stefan. We are still a strong team ;-).  More to come …

But enough about that. Let’s focus on the ‘now’ . This exhibition is for sure a must see, and it is not just because I say it ;-). The title Corpus Adflictum refers to the fact that humans quite often self-inflict oneselves to conform with society. It also refers to what drives humans to do that/or not in a playful way.

Thank you to Gudrun Rombaut to brainstorm with us about the title and to make sure we had the correct text on Aaron Bezzina’s gravestone for the 1st of November.

Here is the text that we wrote for the exhibition:

CORPUS ADFLICTUM

CORPUS [Latin, noun, body, matter, substance, corps, flesh, physique, form] ADFLICTUM [Latin, adjective, afflict, crush, damage, ruin]

Machines and mechanical objects play an important role in Aaron Bezzina’s oeuvre. If something like machine art exists then this exhibition is most certainly an example of strangeness (and familiarity), distance (and proximity) and rejection (and love or intimacy)[1]

Bezzina uses the imaginary in a very down-to-earth way. He uses simple interfaces that are recognizable and that can boost ones ego. His work refers to the language of machines, rather than being machines. It refers to the 19th century aesthetics of industrial apparatuses and focuses on their mechanics in a playful and intriguing way.

Whereas his larger scale work keeps the roughness and rawness of the materials used, his small objects are polished and finalized in great detail. They become precious objects. Objects of desire. Objects one wants to touch, to own and to understand how they work even if it comes with a challenge.

This solo show immerges the visitor into an act of voluntary harm and bodily sacrifice. In today’s society it seems to be socially acceptable to display and advertise the perfect body and its modifications at the cost of self-affliction. We have become responsible for the design of our own body [2]. One can say that the body has become plastic, a lifestyle accessory, a thing to be sculpted, shaped and ‘stylized’[3]. Adding something to the body or transforming is part of the action guided by the self.

Thus the body becomes an object, an apparatus, a machine and the movement of the body becomes a mechanical motion. The action taken is an instinctive one. It is something one wants and feels the need to do. The action is totally driven by the desire to control oneself even if it contains a risk. It would be a risk that one is willing to take.

It is that desire that interests Bezzina. He questions through is work what drives people’s desire. He wonders what people would do if there were no rules and regulations. Would they go for the action or not. This exhibition offers the choice to engage with the apparatuses or not. It is at your own risk and/or pleasure to involve yourself with the mental picture of the machine.

[1] Broeckmann, A (2016) Machine Art in the Twentieth Century, The MIT Press, p.30

[2] Giddens, A. (1991) Modernity and Self-Identity: Self and Society in the Late Modern Age, Stanford University Press, p.102.

[3] Hancock et al (2000) The body, culture and society: An Introduction, Open University Press, p. 8.

 

The show is on at Valletta Contemporary till the 4th of December. For those who are in the neigbourhood go and see it! All credits are to Aaron. He did a great job 😉