Solo Show by Aaron Bezzina
Curated by Ann Laenen & Stefan Kolgen
November 1 - December 4 2019
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), according to art historian and curator Andreas Broeckmann.
This solo show immerses 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-infliction and mental instability.
Bezzina offers a 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.
AARON BEZZINA (b.1991, Malta) earned a BA (with honors) in fine arts at MCAST Institute for the Creative Arts in 2014 and completed an MFA in digital arts at the Faculty of Media and Knowledge Sciences, University of Malta, in 2016. Bezzina has been exhibiting work both locally and overseas for several years.
In 2015 he was awarded a residency by the European Investment Bank in Luxembourg. During the summer of 2016 he undertook a traineeship with the cultural association for the arts Nuova Icona in Venice and in 2017 he was one of the artists selected for the Maltese Pavilion at the Venice Biennale.
Although Bezzina’s work inclines toward the sculptural, he is also interested in other media that encourage meaning making and further associative actions.
ANN LAENEN studied Arts and Theatre Science at KU Leuven and reached PhD level at the University of Leeds in 2007 on the topic of Arts Education and Audience development. During her theatre studies she was especially interested in the scenographical aspect of theatre. She also followed a master class lead by Jan Versweyveld the scenographer working with Ivo Van Hove. She has over 20 years of experience as a project coordinator, cultural manager and curator for several (inter)national projects and organisations.
At present she lives in Malta. Currently she is teaching Active Design Processes and Design Thinking at the Department of Digital Arts/Faculty of Media and Knowledge Science (University of Malta). She combines this work with project coordination, and consultancy at strategic as well as service design level within the arts, culture, creative industries and education. As such she was co-ordinator of the Meeting Point Strand, which includes curating and coordinating the Artist in Residence programmme for Valletta 2018 Cultural Capital of Europe as well as the development of projects such as Design4DCity in collaboration with the Valletta Design Cluster. In November of 2018 she co-curated with Stefan Kolgen the exhibition ‘The Island Indoors’ which brought 4 Maltese and 2 Belgian artists together in Antwerp.
STEFAN KOLGEN is a Belgian digital storyteller and transmedia expert based in Malta. He obtained his B.A. in sound and imaging techniques at the Hoger Rijksinstituut for Toneel- en Cultuurspreiding (H.R.I.T.C.S.) in Brussels in 1989. After working as a 35mm documentary maker, he switched to television and video and worked for several broadcast companies in Belgium and the Netherlands.
Due to his early interest in computers and BBS-networks (Bulletin Board Systems), he started combining storytelling with the upcoming internet full-time in 1993. Testing and introducing new technologies and communication tools within the work of (socio)cultural institutions is at the forefront of his work, as well as implementing them in projects involving as many people as possible in a creative process: e.g. CITY Chromosomes (2004), serious game RFID Snakes & Ladders (2006), transmedia theatre Paola246 (2007), interactive graphic novel Dansen Drinken Betalen (2014), transmedia community project Jefke Tuf (2015). He was coordinator new media and community manager for several major cultural events and institutions in Antwerp: e.g. Year of Paul van Ostaijen (1996), Van Dyck 1999, Antwerp World Book Capital (2004-2005), Youth Theatre HETPALEIS (2000-2007). He co-curated with Ann Laenen the group exhibition The Island Indoors with Maltese and Belgian artists and is currently working on the community arts project Fragile.