Darkness at Noon exhibition explores primordial roots of our humanity

Detail from The Timid Hubris - Paul Scerri
The Timid Hubris - Paul Scerri

Darkness at Noon will showcase the work of three Maltese artists: ceramist Paul Scerri, photographer Charles Balzan and painter Gabriel Buttigieg.

Darkness at noon as a metaphor is the archetypal uncanny moment: frighteningly strange and defined by an occurrence that violently alters the patterns of nature. Responding to this motif, each artist has created a collection which, while radically different in terms of form and style, explores the same sphere of human experience.

As a tool for understanding human thought and feeling, the structure of the uncanny is a psychological mechanism which opens a point of access into a deep analysis of formative human impulses. Coming at the tail-end of the COVID-19 pandemic, Darkness at Noon seeks to investigate the primordial architecture of human consciousness by utilising the uncanny as a tool for examining the unconscious human depths which make us who we are.

Extremely Loud and-Incredibly Close - Charles Balzan
Detail from Extremely Loud and-Incredibly Close – Charles Balzan

Reminding us of our hidden nature – rooted in nature, history and the architecture of survival – the work of these three artists challenges our perception of what it means to be civilized. In the uncanny eclipse of Scerri’s, Buttigieg’s and Balzan’s work the relationships we cherish and the certainties which we hold to be true are designated as symbols of the subterranean forces that shape the unfolding of our lives.

Understanding the compulsions that shape us as 21st century human creatures leads to a fuller expression of our humanity, a widened sense of empathy and conscientiousness which breaks down the walls of otherness. At its most basic, Darkness at Noon aims to underscore the common structures which unite us in a natural way by breaking down the artificially perceived barriers of essential separation, be they COVID induced or ingrained into the workings of our brains, our concepts and our society.

Circe and Her Nymphs - Gabriel Buttigieg
Circe and Her Nymphs – Gabriel Buttigieg

There will also be a catalog featuring essays by Clive Zammit and Giulia Privitelli. 

Darkness at Noon, which is co-curated by Joe-Philippe Abela and Gabriel Zammit, can be viewed at The Splendid, 67 Strait Street, Valletta from the 6th to the 24th February and will be open Monday to Sunday from 10.00am to 6.00 pm.

The exhibition is sponsored by the Malta Arts Council Project Support Grant and supported by The Splendid, ILab Photo and Studio7