Desert Island
Adrain Abela, Bettina Hutschek, Peter Sant
Malta Contemporary Art
2018



 

Desert Island. A paradise?

Referring figuratively to objects or behavior in conditions of social isolation and limited material means, this exhibition takes its starting point from ideas of disconnect and isolation; historic, natural, human, scientific.

 

Peter Sant’s film Quarry of the Resurrection of Eartly Flesh is an immersive study into man made landscapes that was shot over a period of 4 weeks in Malta and Gozo. Constantly aware of quarries when flying into or out of Malta, these huge scars in the landscape, like someone had taken a huge bite out of the land, a body with chunks of flesh torn from its side.

Experiencing these ever growing and deepening golden holes sustaining an out of control verticality industry of intensive construction and taller buildings, on a human scale these places were a sensory experience; the abrasive clunks, scrapes and shrills from the heavy machinery as it crunches, chews and spits out stone, the beauty of the smooth rock faces and the golden light on the chiseled patterns, the dust, the diesel and most of all how it all draws to a halt at the close of business once workers have left, becoming a kind of sanctum, a place beyond, below, between the sprawl.

Sant’s observational study of a place, the material it is made up of and the people that work it, is forensic and politically charged in it’s approach yet retains a warmth and poetic nature that very much explores natural material and its beauty and desolation through its unearthing.

 

Bettina Hutchek’s room installation MARGARET’S STORY or: the real explanation of the disappearance of the Maltese Temple culture, tells the story of the fascinating Margaret Murray (1863-1963), who was archeologist, egyptologist and feminist. She excavated the Maltese temple Borg in-Nadur in the 1920s and was interested in Maltese legends, of which she published a book in 1932. Reviving the memory of this forgotten woman, who died shortly after her 100th birthday in 1963, the installation also inserts a mythological story written by the artist, which explains the disappearance of the Maltese temple people. It is inserted in the real biography of Margaret Murray, mixing fact and fiction in a playful collage. What do we know? What do we believe in? How do we transmit history? The room installation includes drawings, archive photographs, walldrawings, wallpaper print, books, sculptures and found objects.

 

Adrian Abela’s large installation 'Department for Martian Transportation' The particulars of the place, Where someone lives Or an organization is Situated. 1(1-6),2,3(2-4) collages elements from nature and science with human culture and narratives. The coin, the found image, roots, tortoise shells, magnets, technology and other objects exist as new eco systems held together physically and culturally by the material itself yet reflecting contrasts of cultural and colonial exchange, commerce and trade and the creation of wealth via the exploitation of resources.

 

Peter Sant (b. 1975 Australia) relocated to London in 1998 where he completed his MA at the Slade School of Fine Art. Working primarily with moving image, Peter’s debut feature film “Baħar Żmien (Of Time and the Sea) was completed earlier this year, premiering at FIDMarseille, 2018.  His films and installations have been exhibited in numerous galleries and festivals including, Aesthetica Film Festival (York), Camden Gallery (London), ASC Gallery (London), Alexandria Film Festival (Egypt), Birkbeck Cinema (London), Blackfriars Gallery (London), Moves Festival (Liverpool), Black Canvas FCC (Mexico City), Cinemistica (Granada) and Transcinema (Lama).

 

Adrian Abela (b.1989) studied architecture in Malta and Milan, and obtained an MFA from UCLA. His projects lead from an interest in a particular material or narrative into an attempt at creating parallel experiences of the human condition, sustaining it with past and future realities. The conception and execution of his projects often involve other individuals; he uses architecture-derived approaches to create informed work and establish relationships that challenge people’s perspectives on the subject. Along with several solo shows in Malta, he has participated in exhibitions in Europe, Asia, and the US. 

 

 

Earth, is the 3rd planet in this solar system.                                    

The planet, is full of gold. (some) Humans, the sole inhabitants of this planet invented diamonds. It rains diamonds on Neptune. (some) Humans, understood wealth, and (some) others invented countries. (certain) Countries create wealth, by going to other countries. On many parts of the planet calcium carbonate moved wealth. Sea shells turned into copper, nickel, and zinc. On many parts of the world (more) humans are mining numbers. Construction is underway for more ports, roads, cars, and enlightened wealth. 

On an island in the Mediterranean Sea, it has been heard that, when two humans become one, and they live long enough (together), they have ‘rusted’. (some of) These inhabitants attribute this saying to the age of the Roman Empire, where wedding rings were made of iron. The rings would rust and turn the 4th finger to an orange-red hue. 

Saturn wears rings too, maybe not for marriage, but for a unity of shared wealth and poverty, bliss and depression, health and death, nationality and citizenship. 

Mars, is the 4th planet in this solar system.
It is red like blood, more like orange, it is rust. Mars gave its name to the Roman god of war. There is so much water on Mars, unlike on Earth. (some) Humans are increasingly buying water stocks. There was gold, then black gold, and now see-through gold.

Mars is said to represent youth. A book had been written called THE WAR OF THE WORLDS, where martians attack Earth to replenish their depleting martian resources. (most) Humans love war. Mars is the guardian of soldiers and farmers, keeper of destruction, and the embodiment of masculine aggression, these attributes are said to be used to secure peace. (some) Humans used horses in wars. 4 legged animals. Animals with above average spacial discrimination abilities. Their minds are curious, and are inclined to investigate things that they haven't seen before.

On an island in the Mediterranean Sea, (one) Human opened a MUSEUM in every town and village. He has been quoted as saying; ‘The curious find themselves in places they do not want to be in’. This man was then made into a saint. Saints are titles given to humans close to god (or gold). On this same island, cane grew, coming from the east. The harvesting of this organic matter decreased, when plastic was being used as a substitute material, plastic, which then started to populate the bodies of lessening virgin water. Consequently the giant reed expanded its range to the detriment of the (native) settlers. On the second main land, the same plant began being used for bio-fuel as to halt its colonizing efforts and sucking out of water and minerals. The cane grows out of an underground rhizome. When parts of such structures break off, they are rapidly transported to new grounds (through water), take root and grow stories of cane. 
 

Leaving the first continent, (some) Humans found a few islands and made them theirs. These islands serve as a launch base for the miners (rhizomes) to go out from the planet and mine nutrients. Since it had been proven to work previously on this planet. 
On the polar opposite side of Earth, on another island, old rhizomes that also came from the first continent a long long time before, have engineered their soil not to allow non ‘native’ rhizomes to settle. Only after second generation miners (rhizomes) from the second continent realized that their soil was getting weaker did they start buying soil on the island, keeping the soil there. With wealth that was made mostly from minerals that mine numbers. 
On the island in the Mediterranean Sea where past lives grow as buildings, where no minerals and no water exist anymore, (some) humans found a way to sell nationalities for rhizomes to go to the continent. 

History does not exist, neither, but the preset is ours to be interpreted. Cars go from A to B, 1 to 0, but nothing really ever moves. Others actually move from A to Z, use ships, planes and drones with prime velocity for those with more coins. Congruently recognizing that life started with water, however they are ready to leave it, in a worse state they found it in, for greener pastures. Virgin hasn’t changed its meaning, but Tesla did just like Camel and all they store for travel, and so they do; give names to their vehicles, 99 names to be less precise:  

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