Francesca Balzan & Glen Calleja
30 March 23 – 07 May 23
Turning Tables is a collaborative exhibition in which sculptor Francesca Balzan and book and paper artist Glen Calleja engage with artworks from MUŻA’s reserve collection. The visitor is led through four distinct chambers, each detailing nuanced narratives about what goes on around tables in our daily lives.
‘Turning Tables’ references the exhibition hall’s former use as the dining room of this Auberge, where tables were once the principal feature of this room. Balzan and Calleja draw on the museum’s past, evoke it, confront it in an attempt at provoking reflections about art practice, curation and conservation today.
All is played out in the key of disruption and is meant to reframe, in playful provocation, national patrimony and the ecosystem that surrounds it. Cheeky humour and provocation are the declared weapons of choice of this collaborative work.
Turning Tables is the final stage of a multi-year project, supported by Arts Council Malta.
Francesca Balzan is a practising artist, art historian, curator and author. She studied privately under renowned Maltese artist Harry Alden, then went on to obtain a diploma in painting from the Malta School of Art. She is self-taught in sculpture. Francesca’s interest lies principally in portraiture and the human face, using historic sources to produce narratives which are whimsical and often humorous. Nonetheless, pathos and humanity remain sub-lying themes that inform her work. She also creates written narratives to accompany her sculptures and considers these stories essential elements of her sculpture.
Glen Calleja is a book artist, writer and creative entrepreneur. Glen has led and participated in a number of interdisciplinary artistic projects. His work often involves alternative book structures, found content and performative elements. He is co-founder of Studio Solipsis, a cultural venue operating since 2017, which is also home to Calleja’s bookbinding business, Kotba Calleja. His work includes various publications and projects including TKEĊNIR: kitchen work and SURA, an exhibition of contemporary art dolls which won the exhibition of the year for 2021. He is also co-author of the award winning Sal-Quċċata tal-Everest (Merlin) which received the national book award for the ‘Biographical and historiographic research’ category in 2018.