'A New Generation' at the Valletta MCA was the first show of 2010 that
included my work. The opening of the exhibition was last Thursday 14th
January and will remain open until the 7th of February 2010.
This is a group show of 10 emerging Maltese artists, curated by Mark Mangion.
At the show I have two recent pieces - two large canvases titled 'She had composure beyond her years' (1), (2).
The two pieces have a similar underlying theme. In each case the initial
motive was to extract aesthetic value from found diagrams and
representations that were primarily designed/drawn for functional
For further information about the MCA and the exhibition, visit this link. Or visit the MCA facebook page here.
MCA (Malta Contemporary Art) St. James Cavalier
MurmurART is an online gallery based in London, UK. Rather than exhibiting and selling through traditional premises, murmurART operates through an online base supporting regular exhibitions and events in roaming creative spaces.
These photographs were selected for murmurART by the London curators Flora Fairbairn and Robert Dingle, and are exclusively for sale through murmurART.com,
in a limited edition of six for every image. They are photographic
prints mounted onto aluminium, sealed and supported by a wooden batten.
ExhibitionsPosted by Michael Xuereb Jan 08, 2010 04:46PM 'A New Generation' at the MCA will be the first show of 2010 that will include my work. The opening of the exhibition will be 14th January, and come to a close on 7th February 2010.
This will be a group show of 10 emerging Maltese artists, curated by Mark Mangion.
At the show I will have three recent pieces. Two large canvases and a sculpture/object. The canvases are titled 'She had composure beyond her years' (1), (2), and the sculpture/object is titled 'Day, Night'.
All three pieces have a similar underlying theme. In each case the initial motive was to extract aesthetic value from found diagrams and representations that were primarily designed/drawn for functional purposes.
Below is a detail shot of the 'Day, Night' piece.
To download a copy of the e-invite, click on the thumbnail below.
For further information about the MCA and the exhibition you can visit this link.
projectsPosted by Michael Xuereb Nov 17, 2009 11:41PM On Friday 16th October I showed one of my art pieces at Frieze Art Fair. The booth was commissioned by Frieze Projects, and curated by the Lisbon-based curatorial team Filipa Oliveira and Miguel Amad. The project was titled IMPOSSIBLE EXCHANGE.
My work was a part of a project of the New York artist Brina Thurston.
Brina's project considers the ostensibly democratic process
by which art institutions invite artists to submit works to be
considered for exhibition, but in which many factors other than quality
and merit operate. The exhibited piece is titled: 'The land was drained and the boggy ground', 2009 (below)
'The land was drained and the boggy ground' was displayed at the fair throughout the day at the P1 booth, near the VIP room entrace of the fair.
As part of the event, I had a public dialogue with Michele Robecchi, who is art writer and editor at Phaidon Press.
Frieze Art Fair takes place every October in Regent’s Park, London. The
fair showcases new and established artists to an international
On Friday 16th October I will be showing one of my works for the Lisbon-based curatorial team Filipa Oliveira and Miguel Amad. The project is titled Arte Contempo and is commissioned for Frieze Projects.
My work will be part of a project of Brina Thurston, titled OpenCall. Brina's project considers the ostensibly democratic process
by which art institutions invite artists to submit works to be
considered for exhibition, but in which many factors other than quality
and merit operate. The piece I will be showing is titled: 'The land was drained and the boggy ground', 2009 (below)
'The land was drained and the boggy ground' will be displayed at the fair throughout the day. At 3.00pm I will be in a public dialogue with a critic/curator, so if you happen to be around do come and visit. Arte Contempo is located opposite gallery stand G1, near the VIP room entrance of the fair.
The gallery we visit this time is Thomas Dane Gallery, situated on a side street off Piccadilly, opposite The Royal Academy of Arts. My stop was Piccadilly station and as I made my way towards the gallery, I passed a recurring freaky-feeling sight that stops me in my track every time I see it. There between the bustling Piccadilly road junction and The Royal Academy, of all the things in the world, lies a large Maltese flag, hung from the facade of the Maltese embassy. It’s a feeling that every Maltese who sees it feels and you have to be Maltese to understand.
Anyway, less about the Maltese flag; more about Thomas Dane Gallery. The gallery is on the first floor. It was my first visit. Thomas Dane Gallery represents works of some top artists, Turner prize nominees and winners, most importantly Steve McQueen who is the 2009 British representative at the Venice Biennale. (I know him as the director of my favourite on-screen dialogue of all time - it’s a scene from the movie Hunger 2008.) Thomas Dane Gallery also represent works of Albert Oehlen - if you think painting is dead; look at Oehlen’s work - amazing stuff.
As soon as I got there, there were welcoming smiles all around - you would think this would be expected, but from a posh art gallery - you wouldn’t know. The interview was arranged with Martine d’Anglejan-Chatillon, but she insisted we bring into the conversation her fellow director Francois Chantala.
What are your roles in the gallery? Thomas Dane is the managing director and we are both directors. We are all co-founders of Thomas Dane Gallery. Before the gallery, Thomas Dane was an arts consultant*. We opened the gallery in 2004. * an arts consultant provides advises for people who want to buy and invest in art.
So are you happy here? We look happy, don’t we?
The original idea for these interviews were to be with artists, but I thought that maybe we are tired of listening to melodramatic artists talk about their work. So I came up with the idea that it could be interesting to talk to people that deal art in the same approach. Tell me one thing that gallery directors do, that goes unnoticed. We can be melodramatic as well! [jokingly] We have to know Art and its market very well. We have to understand the people related to our line of work. Caring for our artists is very important. Trading Art is far more complex then simply buying art and then selling it. It’s more personal.
Other then selling art, what makes a gallery successful? Selling artworks is not the only thing we do, as I [Martine] said it’s something more personal. Working with our artists in a respectful way keeps the gallery healthy. We know each other on a personal level. We have to understand our artists, we build on trust to strengthen our relationship, and that is essential if we want the gallery and artist to work together. Many of the artists we represent are well-known artists and we have a responsibility to take good care of their name and their work. I [Francois] think that selling art is a small part of our job. It is very important for us to keep a good contact with museums, the press, other galleries and our clients. We constantly work on keeping and improving our relationships. The success of a gallery is all about its relationships.
What makes the business of dealing art different from businesses that sell other things? Such as cars, kitchen appliances.. Behind every artwork there is a person - its artist. We are selling more then just things, we sell parts of the artists' personalities. This makes our business fragile. Yes, it’s far more then just things. Also, most of the time, the things we are dealing are original things. The fact that there’s only one of them in the entire world makes what we do much more special, and interesting. Dealing with art is a very unique business.
The unavoidable subject - the recession. Do you see any worry If prices start coming down; people start buying again and eventually buy more than before, due to the lower prices? We don’t think it’s a bad thing. However it has to happen very gradually, because it would be very easy to loose our trust and reputation with our clients if we decide that something they bought a year ago is now worth thousands of pounds less. It wouldn’t make our artists feel good either, if we say their work has dropped thousands of pounds in value. However, I think it will happen, and I am not afraid. The straightforward explanation to why it has to happen is simply the nature of supply and demand. The recession brought along a difficult time, not just for the art market, but for everyone.
Tell us something about the current exhibition. We shouldn’t take merit for the current exhibition because this exhibition was curated by Leigh Robb. It’s a group exhibition, we like having group shows for the summer period. It’s called Double Object. This is the second showing of this exhibition. It was originally organised at an artist run space a year ago. Artists were invited to respond to the concept of ‘the double object’. We added some other artists’ work for the exhibition here. When we plan our exhibitions our aim is to have an iconic exhibition that leaves a legacy behind it. We want people who visit us to remember our exhibitions. Sometimes we are successful other times we are less successful. But that is our aim.
We did our little interview in their office. The Thomas Dane Gallery’s office looks like a place where things get done. As we went through my questions, the pair seemed comfortable listening to one another and naturally cueing each other to speak from across the room.
The exhibition areas are white walled with high ceilings. Having been there for the first time during a group exhibition, the Thomas Dane Gallery gave me the impression of a miniature museum.
The fundamental manifestation of the exhibition is how various artists interpret the theme: ‘DOUBLE’. One and one, certainly make two - but two can mean so much. For the artists of the Double Object exhibition, this can signify opposition (Bob Law’s ‘Open Drawing’, ‘Closed Drawing’); signify identicality (Roni Horn’s ‘Pair Object VI’); reflection (Philomene Pireki’s ‘Disillusion’); symmetry (Dieter Roth’s ‘Dogs’); or as an amount (Felix Gonzalez-Torres’s ‘Untitled’). If you want to know what I’m talking about I suggest you google them and see for yourself.
To read the exhibition’s press release and view past Thomas Dane Gallery exhibitions, visitwww.thomasdane.com.
Thomas Dane Gallery, First Floor, 11 Duke Street, St James’s London SW1Y 6BN.
you’re going up Regent Street, detour into Beak Street, pass Carnaby
Street and you’ll hit one of the most exciting location in London. Here
art is in the air, you can feel it sweeping from side to side in the
narrow streets of the area. Look for door number 79 and you’ve just
arrived at Riflemaker, one of the many fresh art galleries in this part
Riflemaker has been putting up shows since 2004. Recently I had a chat with one of its directors, Tot Taylor.
MX Riflemaker. How did the name come about? TT It’s
just above the door. It’s the oldest commercial building in the West
End. It was a gun-maker's workshop. You can see from outside, it says
‘Gun maker - Riflemaker’. We didn’t want to put our names on the
gallery, so it’s not like, for example Victoria Miro Gallery. The idea
was that we worked with what we found. We saw ‘Riflemaker’ above the
door and we left it there. Everyone told us that it’s a terrible name,
it has nothing to do with art, it reminds me of guns... It doesn’t
matter. It doesn’t matter if a name reminds you of guns, going to the
loo or being in prison. Eventually it will become known as a place.
us a bit about yourself, and your role in the Gallery. Maybe you would
like to share with us something that a gallery owner does, that goes
unnoticed or unseen. TTWe run the
gallery. There’s two of us. Nearly everything you do when you run a
gallery is unseen. It’s the nature of the business. People who own
galleries are very busy and stressed with a lot of work, and nobody
really realises, I suppose.
MX You organise talks and gatherings; what happens during these events? And where do they take place? TT
Every Monday, at the gallery. We do performances, we have music, we
show films. Quite a lot of poetry. We’ve done one off performances.
Yoko Ono gave a Bagism performance. Andrey Bartenev had an evening
where everybody had to wear masking-tape across their mouth for four
hours; it was about censorship. Last Monday we had Catalina Niculescu’s
performance. She collaborated with musicians to create a cut up score
of Wagner’s Siegfried. The gallery has been open for five years and
we’ve done about 400 events.
MX Before you became a gallery owner/director, did you ever think of becoming an artist yourself? TT I am a composer, music composer. I worked with films in Hollywood film companies. I’ve done all that sort of thing.
MX How many artists do you represent? And how many of them have come to you, and how many did you find yourself? TT
We represent about 18 artists. We don’t really have artists coming to
us, and we don’t really find artists. The shows and exhibitions come
together organically. I want to mention something: One of the most
important thing is the format of the gallery, which is different from
other galleries, it’s totally unique. A gallery format is that you go
into a white walled space and they’re all identical, all the same. The
reason you have a white walled space is that the art doesn’t have
anything to mix with, doesn’t
have anything to fight
with. Basically you’re trying to make the space as bland and neutral as
possible. We think that this is absolutely ridiculous, because life
isn’t like that. And it’s false and old fashioned. So when we moved
into there we decided not to paint the walls white. We decided to leave
the horrible aspects of the room. It’s a room from 300 years ago, with
lots of dust and bullet holes. We didn’t want to start another white
gallery. Something else different from most galleries is that usually
shows last for four weeks. Ours last for twelve weeks. The idea was to
build up the interest in the artist and make that cumulative, so that
the artist can benefit. It is a space for artists, it’s completely
artist orientated. It’s not a business space, it’s not a commercial
space. Sometimes we have a lot of work that isn’t for sale, because we
want to promote the work, rather then necessarily sell the work.
MX So how do you pay the bills, when things aren’t for sale? TT We have very good clients, who have supported the gallery and bought from each show.
The current recession: something we can’t avoid not talking about. Are
you working at a loss, and waiting for the recession to end or are you
still making a profit? TT I never wait for
anything, so I’m not waiting for the recession to end. We haven’t
really taken notice of the recession. I think it might be a government
plot. There’s a lot of strange things happening with the government in
England at the moment. As you know there’s huge scandals. They’ve been
taking money for their expenses. They’ve been buying petrol for cars
that don’t exist, renting out their homes for people who don’t exist.
That tells you a lot about England. So I don’t think there is a
recession. MX So people are still buying... TT
Oh people are buying, we’ve got a sold out show upstairs, four of the
big works downstairs are sold. The golden painting downstairs, that was
two million pounds. You know last night at Christie’s in New York.. Did
you read the paper? MX Yes. A Hockney painting was sold for over 5 million pounds. TT Yes, but not just that. It was a phenomenal sale. They sold 78% of the lots. [Auction held: May 2009]
MX Maybe this can be a one word answer question: Why are gallery owners generally rich, while artists generally poor? TT Because they are stupid. That’s what I think.
had our conversation in a tasteful little snack bar around the corner
from Riflemaker. Around here, every other shop is either a gallery or a
cafe’. Throughout the chat it was easy to notice the sense of community
in the area. Tot was frequently saluting people who passed us by. On
our way back to the gallery, I asked him where would he want his photo
to be taken, but he explained that he prefers not to have his photo
taken for such press, because there’s no need for promoting himself. He
told me how the gallery should only promote the artists. Which, I have
to say, makes sense.
As I was leaving, Tot made sure I visited
all three floors of the gallery. As I did. The ground floor has a cozy
setting, and just as Tot had said, there were no white walls in sight.
From the outside one could see a piece by Kara Walker and inside there
were works by Peter Blake, Gary Hume, Julie Verhoeven and Francesca
Lowe. These were all works on wool tapestry, as part of ‘Banners of
Persuasion’, which is a commissioning group for artists who work on
textile. The piece by Gary Hume struck me the most. I had never seen it
before. It had three female faces, in his typical outline depictions,
with floral patters in a variation of deep greens. As I was standing in
front of the art piece, I could sense that something wasn’t right, but
it wasn’t the image. I felt as if I wanted to cancel everything else
around it to view it on its own, maybe even, dare I say, on a white
wall. The ambiance’s strong character throughout the ground floor made
it hard for me to distinguish my thoughts from one work to the other. I
felt I couldn’t see the artworks individually. It was as if they were
just details, engulfed in the building’s defined personality.
Apparently even the gallery’s web-site is not your typical, minimal,
black-text-on-white-background interface, like that of other galleries.
going up to the second floor I could sense a drastic improvement in the
atmosphere, because the interior’s colour cooled down and the space was
more lit. In the room there were frames with embroidery on old
photographs and three sculptures, that looked like towers. The largest
two were the size of a person and made out of hair, yes hair. As I
looked around for the artist’s name, I had only one name in mind,
‘Rapunzel’. But they’re not by Rapunzel. These are by the Italian
artist Maurizio Anzeri, whose work is truly a delight to see. I suggest
you look him up as soon as you finish reading this.
On my visit,
the underground floor had an array of video projections and a
slide-projector, all whizzing away, showing videos and stills of the
artist Catalina Niculescu. The space is a dimly lit, low ceiling,
expression space. For a moment I closed my eyes and brought to mind the
crowded performances and music sessions Tot had mentioned. I’m sure
this is were they happen. You can still feel the art infused thrills
reverberating in the room from previous gatherings.
clearly has a good eye for up-and-coming artists. On this basis alone,
the success of the gallery is well deserved. The artists represented by
Riflemaker are well curated, and looking at previous exhibitions, this
seems to be standard. Artists of Riflemaker should be proud to be in
Tot’s hands, and even though, when it comes to financial decisions, he
calls them ‘stupid’, I’m sure the admiration is reciprocated.
writingsPosted by Michael Xuereb Jul 30, 2009 03:46AM This is a Paper discussing the use of Photography in On-line Social Networks. Titled: The Sadness of the Hand-held Self-portrait.
Chapter 1. An Introduction to the Cause:
For most of us the internet has become a one stop shop for everything.
It has revolutionized every entity that makes up a society. It has
become a significant commodity for economic markets,
mass-communication, event organizing, money transferring, educating
people, gathering global statistics, electing presidents and everything
in between. Throughout centuries the race has been to transport goods,
services and ourselves in lesser time than the shortest time possible.
With the introduction of telecommunication we had a taste of how we can
virtually be somewhere else instantly. And when something reaches its
destination immediately, distance becomes irrelevant, so the whole
mentality of delivering a massage changed. However it had to be the
world wide web that truly made our presence virtual...
The full essay can be downloaded from the .pdf below.
projectsPosted by Michael Xuereb May 04, 2009 01:03AM Last October I found an opportunity to submit a painting for an art competition in the UK. The conditions of the competition stated that participants had to send in a painting to be considered for an exhibition.
The organizers were clearly doing it for the money because they had a lot of sponsors and they were to keep a high commission of paintings that were to be sold. To top it off they were also asking for a £20 just to participate. At the time I thought that this wasn’t fair on artists and my first reaction was not to take part.
(I felt a bit rebellious and I was in a bad mood) ..so I decided to submit a ‘protest-painting’ and give them a piece of my mind, with a canvas I called ‘Since when?’.
I wasn’t expecting they would accept it, but to my surprise they did! And my painting was part of the 10% of submissions they accepted, and it ended up in the exhibition and the event catalogue. (and it’s also on their website) Needless to say it got a lot of reaction. The judges to this competition were Professor Maurice Cockrill RA, Keeper of the Royal Academy Schools, Richard Cork, Art Critic, and the artist Gavin Turk.