Points of view through paint, glass and wire | Matthew Attard

Up-and-coming artist Matthew Attard speaks to us about his participation in the Creative Cities Collection, which took place earlier this month at the Barbican Centre, London and in which he exhibited a sculpture as part of an international showcase of artists.

Matthew Attard.
Matthew Attard.

Tell us a bit about yourself. What is your artistic background like?

My first real important encounter with contemporary art was probably back at the Junior College, where under Caesar Attard, Isabelle Borg, Gilbert Calleja and Dr Joe Cassar I started to understand the research and critical process in art. During my university period, I then used to meet up for weekly drawing sessions with Attard and Calleja, together with Robert Zahra, Jesmond Vassallo, Katya Micallef and Stephen Vella.

These sessions were very important and influential for me. Once I graduated, I had then the opportunity to intern at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, where I stayed for about a year and half working for the internship program. I did not work as an artist here of course, but this gave me a first-hand experience in the context of one of the most important modern art museums, and also the opportunity to then work at the Venice Biennale at the US Pavilion: another important reality of contemporary art.

In June 2011, I was then selected for an artistic residency of a year by Eventi Arte Venezia, a young art association in Venice having ateliers at Forte Marghera.

My residency there was also partially supported by the Malta Art Fund. Here, I had the opportunity to focus on the research of which the sculpture sent to London forms part.

How did you get chosen to participate in the Barbican exhibition?

Centro Mostre Italia in Turin collaborated with the Chinese Committee for this exhibition and they took care of the international artists. They had sent invites about it, and I tried my luck. The selection was then made in April. The Creative Cities Collection is a showcase of 500 works by renowned Chinese artists such as Dawei Liu, Dian FAN, Wei Hu and Ping Yan, as well as many other lesser-known artists who have not previously exhibited outside their homeland, juxtaposed with 60 paintings by UK and other nationality artists.

How would you describe the work that you exhibited?

The sculpture forms part of some particular research I was doing. Essentially, it is about drawing and the process of building an image. The sculpture in question is made up of simple material: a sheet of transparent plexi-glass, wire and black paint. The wire goes into and outwards of the plexi-glass, acting as a line, which is sometimes also continued by painted lines on the transparent material. When one goes around it, they experience several different points of views noticing for example distorted figure parts, but not only.

From a specific point of view (which of course differs slightly for each and every one of us), one can notice the drawing of a complete figure. The transparency, reflections and distortions, all play an important role in it. The sculpture will be now sent to Beijing, where it will form part of a permanent collection of a museum which is currently being constructed.

How do you think your piece represents Malta - or 'Malteseness' - in this context?

I didn't deliberately set out to 'represent' Malta with this exhibition, but I guess the sculpture does perhaps represent a certain stage of my development as having been born in Malta - though I don't like to generalise in this way. Today, of course, we live in a very globalised world, so artists from everywhere are capable of working anywhere...

For more information about the exhibition log on to: http://www.creativecitiescollection.org/. For updates on future work by Attard, log on to: http://atelier-in-esterno.tumblr.com/.