top of page

Before the Work There's "I"
6 Dec 2023 - 22 Dec 2023
10 Jan 2024 - 24 Feb 2023

Solo Exhibition by Maxine Attard

Maxine Untitled.png
VC poster Maxine 50x70 copy.jpg

BEOFRE THE WORK THERE'S "I" exhibition poster


Before the work, there’s “I” is a solo exhibition by artist Maxine Attard. In this solo exhibition, the artist works in a ritual of repetitive gesture, towards a sublime, an unattainable. However, the works are interrupted, and the show presents itself as a reaction and introspection, taking aim at the conditions in which the works were able to be produced and not. The conditions in which market forces and contrived art players are sharp-ended and impeding of the needs of the artist. 


Few in Malta or the occidental world would publicly declare that artists are dangerous, but the policy-clouded iron fist on their chests reveal another reality: that the artist is dangerous and the gallery (almost) killed the artist. But there is no art without the artist, no gallery without the artist. Without existence of the artist, the “I” before the work, the “I” that is chronically estranged by hollowing conditions, the art system collapses. The artist, Attard, lives within the paradigm she moves to exit and exist, in a thorny, meandering gesture to find God where God has died: in the room, the gallery, the home, and the chaos of the outer world. 


The title of the exhibition, Before the work, there’s “I” is pulled from the diary of the artist, whose staunch words mark the walls of gallery, bringing the viewer into her foreground. The works, meditative and mathematical, seem to be at once harmonious and at odds with the unsparing diaristic texts throughout the space, which, although will disappear once painted over, will live on beneath, as invisible markers of what was and is. 


Attard’s works come to represent the art world’s bad conscience, a rejection of the stifling climate that further estranges the artist in malice. The battle of odds to produce the works is reflected in the journey of seeing them. Not all the works are placed in the opening, but they gradually enter the gallery, modulating the show as a journey that is personal, political, cathartic and experimental.

Maxine Attard (b.1986, Malta) is a visual artist and a graduate of the University of Brighton, U.K. (MA Fine Arts, 2011) and the University of Malta (History of Art, 2008). Attard works in multiple media including works on paper, works on wood and site specific installations. She has had solo shows in Malta – In Between Obliterations at The Mill supported by Gabriel Caruana Foundation (2017) and commissions – Inhabit commissioned by Pjazza Teatru Rjal and funded by the Malta Arts Council (2016). Selected group exhibitions include Bodyless, at the Maritime Museum, Birgu, Malta (2016) and Mediterranea 17, Young Artists Biennale, Milan, Italy (2015). Her work is held in a number of private collections. Attard taught art practice and theory as an assistant lecturer at MCAST Institute for the Creative Arts, Malta (2012-2014).

Carefully constructed geometrical compositions, subtlety of lines, combination of materials, contrast of ‘natural’ and ‘synthetic’ colours and repetition are a few ways of how one can describe the work of Maxine Attard. All of the above however, are only some elements that she begins with each time she starts a new work. Overall, the urge to produce such work stems from Maxine’s constant preoccupation with the insignificance of human existence in the face of the sublime. As a result, her work tackles the void, the nothing and the constant search for meaning through the repetition of mark-making, the order of geometry and the minimal palette of colours and compositions.

bottom of page