John Paul is currently exhibiting seven pieces at the Splendid in Strait Street Valletta. The Splendid is apparently an abandoned guest house in some state of dilapidation but it’s an ideal backdrop for the (disappointingly) small number of works on show.
The works themselves are mostly top notch. My favourite is there – still apparently and unbelievably unsold. My other favourite piece is Bored Calculator, a figure sitting astride a sheep. It is constructed of so much diverse stuff; and the figure’s head is a jumble of colored wires through which the artist marvelously extracts a hauntingly vacant look. This is indeed awesome stuff.
Then there is Roman Pig (Back to Front). I can’t really make out the anatomy correctly but the piece succeeds in portraying greed, decadence and excess so well that anything else is futile and basically irrelevant.
I am pleased to note that the nation has actually acquired a work by John Paul Azzopardi – though I would have preferred the acquisition to be one of the two works mentioned above; Trickster or Calculator.
There is no doubt this artist is a profound thinker – all serious students of philosophy tend to be in my experience. I prefer to let the philosophy go straight over my head and see these works in the way my eyes see them – a brilliant portrayal of decay (obviously), decadence, unrest, violence and social ennui. If I’m reading it wrong then my apologies to the artist.
Decay is on at The Splendid, 74 Strait Street Valletta from 16 November to 2nd December. Mondays to Sundays 12:30 to 20:00. Unmissable stuff.
J.P. Azzopardi's website is here http://jpazzopardi.com/gallery/main.php