Galleria Biffi Arte, Piacenza - Italy (2018)

Artists: Vince Briffa, Trevor Borg, Aaron Bezzina, Joe Smith, Victor Agius, Ryan Falzon, Andrea Zerafa, Francesca Mercieca

Curator: Joe Philippe Abela
Assistant Curator: Elyse Tonna


Supported by: Galleria Biffi Arte and Arts Council Malta (Travel Grant)

curatorial note

‘in between’ explores issues related to the human experience of time as a phenomenon that is perceived and engaged with through different levels of subjective engagement and cognition. Inescapable and infinitely complex, the problems of time have been grappled with by all cultures through the history of humanity. The results of these engagements and attempts at understanding and conceptualising time have resulted in a diversity of myths, theories, beliefs and a vast array of cultural products. Time and space are frequently regarded as integral and inseparable, being mysteriously connected and intertwined. Time may be regarded as a human construct; it facilitates the art of being and manifests itself in change, development and recurrence. Time is internalised differently, sometimes unconditionally and unintentionally and has been described as linear, cyclical or even finite. Levels of timelessness may manifest themselves as an infinite occurrence, counteracted and challenged by finite units and means of measure. Above all, time continues to act as a driving mechanism, instigating us to question and investigate, to understand and feel understood, to reflect and create.

Various disciplines and discourses have made time a focus of their investigation. Its real and non-real forms (its subjective and objective dimensions) have been debated and interpreted widely, not only through specialised sciences but also through art and literature. We do not only question our existence in objective time, but we also engage with ambiguities which arise from the subjective experiences of the flow of time as it moves from the future into the present and then to the past. What is the source of the flow of time? Where does it flow to? Does it have a measure?

Physicists tend to interpret the past as a finite measure and regard the future as infinitely extended. Aristotle investigated issues related to the passage of time and how this is used by humans primarily as a measure of change. Heidegger, from a more contemporary perspective, focuses on the finitude of time and how this bears on our contemplation of mortality. Nietzsche invites us to consider the doctrine of eternal recurrence – how would humans perceive life if resources were infinite and the universe we live in was undergoing a continuous, endless, recurring cycle? Through the image of eternal return, he challenges us to embrace our life experiences to the extent of willing them even if they were to recur infinitely.

The cyclical feature of time represents rituals and has a heavy influence on the way natural processes are interpreted. Cycles represent an unfolding progress where time and space resonate and intertwine. Each cycle ushers in an endless round of creation, preservation and destruction, a rhythm of events, natural and human, repeated through the seasons and the recall of memory. We engage with time through our tools of quantification, interpretation, and through ritual. By their defined and finite structures, rituals may offer the possibility of disrupting the linear flow of discrete past, present and future. This disruption of linearity acts as a medium in which stories may continue to grow and unfold. Complimented by language, time is given a metaphorical aura. Languages frame time differently and affect the relative perception of the spatial dimension. Theorists suggest that speaking different languages allows us to experience different perceptions and utilise varied ways of marking duration. Language therefore arms us with a technology to experience and communicate time whilst concurrently framing and limiting that very experience. Through the human technology of language, our perception of time is both enabled and restricted. Language, which is itself tensed and time bound, forces us to continuously struggle with the tension between the possibilities that it offers and the limits that it sets.

‘in between’ seeks to explore the infinite symbolisms and ambiguities associated with time, with the artists offering various interpretations of the different facets of this phenomenon, expressed and manifested through the use of different media The exhibition in itself is a journey through the artists’ reflections on how the concept and experience of time influences their artistic approaches and how this in turn unfolds as a cognitive and affective process of visual exploration in the mind of the viewer.