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This unique print boasts a fantastic story of friendship and vision, weaving the lives of Maltese architect and artist Norbert Francis Attard with the then-curator of Malta’s National Museum of Fine Arts, Dennis Vella (1953-2019).
This print was handpicked by Artemisia’s owner, Christina Busuttil Thompson, at one of the hottest auctions Malta witnessed in 2019: The Dennis Vella Collection. (For more about Dennis Vella, please click here.) Upon winning the bid, Christina immediately interviewed the architect, artist, and owner of Valletta Contemporary Art Gallery, Mr. Attard, for his opinion and memories concerning this particular work. What follows is a summary of their meeting.
”This print is a composite work, a lucky and beautiful accident that sometimes happens while an artist prints his results at a professional printer (if not produced by the artist’s press). Each paper destined to contain the designated artwork must pass through the press several times before completion, so registration is paramount. ‘To get a perfect registered edition of, say, 100, one would require hundreds of sheets of paper. The machines I worked with in the 70’s, up until 1986, were far from perfect so there was no option but to start printing with at least 500 sheets per edition. Technically speaking, this fact was a great achievement because it was so difficult to register them perfectly. To achieve the quality I was after made it almost miraculous,’ says the artist. For some reason, this sheet captured various plate marks attributed to the three artworks below:
MIHRAB XIII, Lithograph, 33 x 44cm, ten plates, Edition 100 + 20 AP, 1983, Printed at Eagle Press, Tarxien, Malta.
MIHRAB IV, Silkscreen, 34 x 44.5cm, eight plates, 100 + 20 AP, 1985, Printed at Advanced Graphics, London.
MIHRAB VI, Lithograph, 40 x 55cm, six plates, 1985, 100 + 20 AP, Printed at Eagle Press, Tarxien, Malta.
An edition was, in turn, made up of several plates- anywhere between 4 and 12, which makes this artwork even more unique. Usually, this kind of print would be thrown away; however, Dennis picked it up and asked the artist to sign it, which he did- as can be seen on the artwork’s lower right and left-hand corners.
This print is unique because it is not part of an edition. There is only one like it, so in a sense, it has great value now,” says Attard.
*This artwork is subject to Artist Resale Rights.
About Norbert Attard:
Arguably, one of Malta’s contemporary Arts and culture masterminds, Norbert Francis Attard, is a person who will go down in Maltese history for a plethora of reasons. Below is but a short bio, which can be expanded upon here.
Norbert Francis Attard started as a self-taught painter and graphic artist before turning to installation art in 1998. He graduated in Architecture from the University of Malta in 1977, practicing as an architect for twenty years until 1996. He lived in Germany in 1978/1979, working with the firm ‘Licht in Raum,’ directed by Johannes Dinnebier, one of Germany’s pioneers in light design.
Attard now focuses on a contemporary art practice incorporating architecture, sculpture, photography, video, and installation to explore his significant interests in places and their memories. He blurs the boundaries of these disciplines to incorporate the fundamental physicality of sites and explore their sedimented multiple layers of memory, treating them as a product of place, social interaction, and generative process.
Attard represented Malta at the 48th Venice Biennale in 1999. Aside from this prestigious milestone, he is a founding member of stART (2002) – a group of Maltese contemporary artists; a committee member of the Malta Council for Culture and the Arts (2002-2005); and currently director of GOZO contemporary since 2001 – an art space, offering self-directed residencies to international and local artists, on the island of Gozo.
Some of his International Exhibits: Maifesta 9 Parallel Events, Genk, Belgium (2012); Beaufort 04, De Panne, Belgium (2012); Meridian/Urban Project, Berlin, Germany (2011); Galeria Nuble, Santander, Spain (2011); OSTRALE 011, Dresden, Germany; I-Park, Connecticut, USA (2011); 5th Biennial VentoSul, Curitiba, Brazil (2009); 25th Alexandria Biennial, Egypt (2009); CUBE OPEN, Manchester, UK (2009); 2nd Bienal de Canarias, Canary Islands (2009); INHABIT 09, Brisbane, Australia (2009); Turner Contemporary, Margate, UK. (2008); Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland (2008); INTRUDE 366, Zendai Museum of Modern Art, Shanghai, China (2008); 3rd Echigo Tsumari Triennale, Japan, (2006); Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, Taiwan (2005); Casoria Museum of Contemporary Art, Naples, Italy (2005); ARTIADE, Athens, Greece (2004); 8th Havana Biennale (2003); Macedonia Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki, Greece (2003); 2nd Liverpool Biennale (2002); Edinburgh International Festival, Scotland (2002); FLOATING LAND, Noosa, Australia (2001); DIASPORA, Oviedo, Spain (1998), among others.
‘Mirhab’ by Norbert Attard (1951-)
€700.00 excl. VAT