Thirteen slender, sensual, pearly-white beauties, delicately posed on jet-black lava, barely touching each other, but wanting to be touched, caressed, loved, looked at, inspected, every contour, every delicate edge.
It’s hard to believe where they came from, hard to fathom what they were like before, but as they present themselves to our scrutiny, any shyness or insecurity they might have had quickly fades away.
Antoine Farrugia has once again succeeded in capturing suggestiveness through a medium that is part of our daily lives, all the more so for him as he is from the capital of globigerina limestone, Mqabba.
His works are made of recycled stone, many of which would have spent decades hibernating, hiding and waiting for that moment to shine, be the center of attraction, play with our imagination and display the delicate contours that Antoine has managed to expose. with so much skill, patience and sensitivity.
At each stage of the process of creating these sculptures, Antoine has approached beauty, the sublime. These works come from the depths, from a soul mate who expresses beauty in a unique way, giving us enough space to create our own personal connection with her art and creations.
It is fascinating to imagine this whole process, in the cool, dimly lit workshop, these stones are slowly and painstakingly transformed into a thing of beauty, a joy to behold, freed from the clutter that had hitherto shrouded their contours, no longer wall flowers but prima donnas ready to steal the show and absorb all the limelight.
Now they glow, emanate heat, which totally contradicts the age-old saying of stone cold.
What Antoine manages to create are not simple sculptures, but experiences. It is complexity made simple albeit by an elaborate process. The delicacy of the contours evokes the fantasies of a beauty which one would have believed existed only in our imagination, in a parallel universe perhaps.
Sharp, thin edges embody both fragility and strength, a mixture that can only be represented in this way. It’s labyrinthine and yet Farrugia lays it before our eyes on a bed of homogeneity that’s hard to describe without visualizing the actual end product.
As the perfectionist that he is, Farrugia has left no stone unturned (no pun intended) to perfect his technique, not only testing the limestone to the limit, but even more so maintaining its original color and giving it to us. presented in immaculate condition.
What Antoine manages to create are not simple sculptures, but experiments
He managed to achieve all this after years of experimenting with different media, and finally, oh surprise, he found the right balance, solution and technique to achieve pater. Thanks to the precise application of the tempera to the stone, he can now preserve the natural color of the stone, ensuring that it will not change even after the wax and varnish have been applied.
Antoine considers each of his works as an experience, a journey, a love story one could say. It doesn’t just create beautiful shapes, it gives them a heart, an identity, almost like they’ve been injected with life, and I’m sure if you sit with them and be patient, you could almost hear them purr in a state of contentment.
These works are limitless, you could have them with you in your living room or on your desk and discover a new angle, a new dimension every day. You’ll identify with them when you’re in love or when you’re lonely and heartbroken, or you can just enjoy their company in silence as you study luscious curves and transport your mind elsewhere.
Being aesthetically perfect, they will please the eye and therefore evoke positive emotions of serenity and calm.
What fascinates me is the fact that Farrugia has the final product firmly imprinted in his mind even when his stone is just a rough block sitting on the workbench waiting to be touched by his hands and magical tools ; he knows exactly what is hidden there and he discovers it expertly, removing all the shyness and giving it a lasting elegance and allure.
It’s been a hell of a year, and Kamra ta’Fuk took us through an incredible journey, an eclectic group of artists using different mediums, each with a different style, a different story to tell, and a whole new experience each time.
This tiny room in the picturesque village of Mqabba has become a meeting place, an unofficial and bohemian rendezvous for artists, photographers, writers and art lovers. It’s a showcase that showcases the best of Maltese talent and it was fitting that a year later this project culminates with the 13 sublime works of art that Farrugia has shared with us.
I hope this is just the start of a long journey, a walk through the lives, works and minds of many other Maltese artists. When it all started, it was like taking a lonely first step down a misty path.
This path is now much clearer and no artist will walk it alone thanks to the vision of Farrugia, Melanie Erixon and Johanna Uski. Xulliela Bajda is definitely a must see, it will change the way you look at art and I’m sure after you visit you will wonder what’s inside every stone you see.
Exhibition of Antoine Farrugia Xulliela Bajda, hosted by Mqabba’s Kamra ta’Fuk and curated by Art Sweven, is in place until February 15. Check the event’s Facebook page for opening hours.
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