Camouflage, Revolution, and Desire

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Camouflage, Revolution, and Desire

‘Camouflage, Revolution, and Desire’ with the sub-title ‘drawing from movies’, together with a collection of artworks, is the outcome of a collaborated Book-Art Project between two established artists, Ruth Bianco, from Malta and Richard Davies, from the United Kingdom. redwhite spoke to Ruth Bianco about the experience.

The collaborated 72-page full visual book publication is a self-publication which amalgamates art and cinema, reinterpreting the collage process through explorations uniting filmic iconography with tactile, spatial and digital media in the graphic fine arts. Memorable stills and frames drawn from a range of cult and new wave movies (notable for revolutionising the cultural boundaries of society and the screen) have been freshly reinvented into new visual narratives, at the artists’ choice.

We never intended to simply excel in the mere techniques of collage; but rather to explore new narratives and interpretations of film language and the iconic images which have become its legacy as a way to contribute to a further understanding of contemporary collage. The process and connections have been important.

We have called this ‘collage upon collage upon collage’ in the way the work unites tactile, spatial, and digital processes with cinematic iconographic memorabilia. The art has been about exploring disparateness and piecing a multitude of differences. Indeed collage is like contemporary life which has become a conglomeration of rapid information and fleeting images; films and motion pictures are inspired from life, but the reverse may be even more powerful. Our book and project title reflects such connections: Camouflage in the way both collage and film ‘conceal’ to create different appearances; Revolution in the way both collage and film have shifted the cultural mentalities of society, art and the screen; and Desire, apart from the erotic, reflects the human insatiable need for endless self representation through film and art.

The book includes an introductory essay by the artists and a foreword by Karen Sanig (Head of Art Law at Mischon de Reya Solicitors, London. It is being launched together with a collection of collage print-works emerging as a further step in creative “post-productions” from the book itself.

Richard and myself have known each other as artists and academic professionals at the University for the Creative Arts in the UK for over twelve years and have collaborated on previous projects, including a video installation a while back which was presented at the National Museum of Fine Arts. The aims of this project were understood from the outset, and such enthusiasm and energy dispelled any so called cultural differences. In fact it never entered the equation. The common aura is the passion for film and art.

What is more interesting and important perhaps is the methodologies we explored for creating such a project and working at distance between Malta and England. Collage allows for a conceptual ‘unfixture’ of space and making ‘reconnections’ by its very nature. This is paralleled by new media and the Internet that has enabled a project such as this to form between two fine artists and two distinct territories with a creative flexibility into the unknown. In this sense cultural distinctness is reconfigured through digital space where different ideas can migrate, transform and connect in unexpected ways. Camouflage, Revolution, and Desire is also very much about this.

Following the launch, the publication ‘Camouflage, Revolution, and Desire – drawing from movies’, may be acquired from the Tate Modern, London. We’ve asked Ruth Bianco about Malta and the lack of book art promotion in a general local context:

Yes, the Tate Modern London has decided to take the book from where it may be purchased after the Launch and Exhibition Preview. A comparison with Malta is difficult to make because of difference of scale. The Tate Modern bookshop in London is probably one of the largest art specialist outlets of its type in Europe that sees thousands of visitors pouring through the metropolis daily. It is hugely competitive and we are delighted that the book has been selected. I am also proud that this book has been printed and bound in Malta and flown to the UK for a premiere launch.

I am not sure how one can start to compare but any cultural outlet of this type is non-existent here and more so now that people rely on online purchasing. It is however also up to artists themselves to create their books, though the market provides little incentive, if at all. I think that the lack of tangible exposure to contemporary art books and journals leaves people visually ignorant of the marvel, creativity and excitement one experiences by simply walking through, browsing, handling, seeing volumes of cultural literature and art books in outlets like the Tate Modern.

When you think therefore that our major exhibition sites, like St James Cavalier and The National Museum of Fine Arts, have no such cultural outlets, even in small proportion or scale, the lack, sadly becomes quite obvious.

The project launch is to take place in London on the evening of 18 July 2012 at 18.30 hrs at The Horse Hospital, Colonnade, Bloomsbury, London – anyone visiting London at the time is being invited to the launch and preview. The exhibition will run till Saturday 28 July with visiting hours between 12.00 and 18.00 hrs from Monday to Saturday.

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