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Wioletta Kulewska 3.jpg
Wioletta Kulewska 1.jpg
Wioletta Kulewska 4.jpg

Malta Biennale Art 2024 

Curated by Sofia Baldi Pighi, Elisa Carollo, Emma Mattei, and Nigel Baldacchino

Artist: Wioletta Kulewska Akyel 

Title: ‘Grotta’ (Painting / Installation)

Dimensions: 2.5m x 2.5m x h-3.5m

Materials: natural pigment and gauche tempera paint on cotton fabric, timber structure

Photography Julian Vassallo 

‘Grotta’ is a title of a new painting installation by Wioletta Kulewska Akyel for the Malta Art Biennale in 2024. The proposed installation features large-scale canvas tent paintings, with every aspect of the exteriors and interiors, walls and roofs painted in intricate detail. 

A tent fulfils a fundamental human need for shelter not only for physical protection, but as a psychic refuge. It will connect us to the earliest ‘cave paintings’ which can be a shelter or slept under; like a movable chapel for contemplation of the sacred in a modern age defined by digital speed. Expanding the traditional relationship between art object and viewer, these paintings function by enveloping and surrounding the viewer to evoke an experience of painting that is both seen and physically felt. 

The ‘Grotta’ Tent is richly painted with pigment and gouache paint on cotton fabric combines a number of elements – stylized figuration, hand-painted texts and patterns. Installation features a multiple formal, cultural and personal element such as female figure, abstracted feminine shapes, motifs of fertility and regeneration. The tent installation represents protection, shelter and feminism. 

The title of the work ‘Grotta’ refer to the earliest figurative cave paintings. The oldest pictorial record of storytelling. As an installation, the tent combines to create a beautiful world of colour and strangely alluring hospitality. The smell of natural cotton canvas and pigment will take us back to an easier, more peaceful time to our childhood memories. Allowing someone into the tent symbolized a general extension of hospitality and sometimes refuge. 

Creating a tent for Malta Art Biennale in 2024 will be like a building a new temple of hope and diversity, which keeps the world together. It will include the most diverse cultural patterns and traditions to create a hybrid visual language with which to create intimate tales of sensual and spiritual encounter. 

The tent installation poses open-ended questions and reflects on connectivity to nature and the body. It will represent something mystical, a transition. Taking influence from Italian frescoes, Kulewska blends a broad Indo-European vision that once existed in antiquity with contemporary settings and themes – and in doing so, presents us with their inevitable disjunctions.

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