Fragmenta held its first Exhibition on November 24th in the Gallery Space of AP Malta, Valletta and in the urban space of the city itself.
Our first Fragmenta Event was a great success – lots of people came, had a look, then took a map and went for the discovery trail of images which were placed around town. Many of them came back to chat. Some just remained in the room, looking at the mesmerizing images: there were dogs, sea views, boats, beer bottles, cats, horizon lines and various body parts of people – or as Jon would describe it: “you might look for a theme amongst these images – you will not be given one.”
Jon’s pictures definitely defy answers.What I can observe is: he eats, he drinks, he dances. There is music in the pictures. He has friends with sailing boats and he likes to look at the sea. He looks at dogs and cats and pigeons and most of the time interacts with them. He owns a scooter. He likes portrait oriented images. His pictures are not digitally taken. He invites chance into the process of image making.
There are few people directly depicted in the images. Most of them are fragments, human elements, but without ever showing the person, rather an aspect of him or her, or maybe an aspect of the person which in this very moment is interesting to Jon. Or to the aspect of Jon who is taking the picture in that very moment. Yet, they are not snapshots – Jon insists and I agree. But what then?
Again, no answers are provided, rather questions asked: Why do some pictures have such a melancholy feeling to them? Why do some of them look so old, yet so contemporary at the same time? Jon’s point of view seems to switch back and forth between extreme close-ups and the view of the overall pictures. There are the close-up details and there are wide angle images. The humans are found somewhere in between these two extremes, and maybe because they remain in this blurry in-between-world of non-said, the images contain also something magical. As if I was constantly trying to clean my glasses but the fog remains and after having looked and looked, I still do not understand what Jon really wants and more importantly: I still do not understand the images. Maybe that’s it: there is nothing to understand, nothing to prove. They simply show parts of a personal world, situated between the stones of Valletta, the Mediterranean Sea and the sky of Malta (Mlata). Jon is the observer from aside and from the back.
Fragmenta loves ephemeral events. Jon does too. So we decided to organise the biggest part of the exhibition in the public space, and we were – “thanks God” – extremely lucky with the November weather. Not a drop of rain from 6am to 5.45pm. Perfect timing for putting things up and having people see them.
One did not know if to expect a large or small pictures, a clutter of images, or even where to find them exactly. It became a sort of treasure hunt which not only lead at looking at side streets and parts of the city one usually passes by without noticing but also to funny speculations (“Look, rests of masking tape – for sure a picture was hanging there but was now stolen”) and to proud competition-like expressions (“I saw it first” “We found everything”). It is amazingly great to see people so passionate and emotional about something which one could consider an art event. After all, it’s fun.
Most pictures were placed in relation to an aspect of the location (funny dog looking out of the Jewellery Shop; Blue Swing on top of the Blue Door; Kitchen Interior in front of a local Cafe; Festa Pictures at the location where Festas usually happen… ) but others were pure coincidences. Lucky ones for us.
One day later, despite heavy rains during the night, most of the pictures are still up and might remain up for a long while. Keep on looking for them, keep your eyes open! We will too.
Fragmenta wishes to express its gratitude to everybody who came to look and be taken on an adventure tour. We like to especially thank AP for generously hosting us for the day, with special thanks to Tom Van Malderen and Konrad Buhagiar.