WIĊĊNA, Zvezdan Reljić, opening 15 November 2018

WIĊĊNA, Zvezdan Reljić 
Exhibition dates: 15 November – 13 December 2018
Public event: Meet the authors & readings – Thursday 29 November, 7.00pm
Open times: Tuesday – Friday: 1.00 – 6.00pm, Saturday: 10.00am – 1.00pm
Blitz, 68 St Lucia Street, Valletta
Entry is free.

“A face is a flower in the solitude of things. A face listens to years, seasons, countless lives…”
– Raúl Zurita

WIĊĊNA by Zvezdan Reljić is an at once intimate and collective compendium of lith-printed photographic portraits; a quiet celebration of the immeasurable variety of faces that inhabit or pass through the the Maltese Islands. The project unfolds in two parts, an exhibition at Blitz, and accompanying book of over 200 portraits alongside aesthetic, anthropological and literary essays on aspects of physiognomy, identity and photography, each written in the different languages that have influenced Malta throughout its history – Arabic (Walid Nabhan), English (Alexandra Pace), French (Philippe Parizot), Italian (Virginia Monteforte), Maltese (Leanne Ellul), and Spanish (Antoine Cassar).

WIĊĊNA features portraits of individuals from different backgrounds, generations and ethnicities, accompanied by a caption taken from the individual’s answer to the often complicated question “Where are you from?”

According to the physiognomical beliefs of Sir Thomas Browne in his treatise Christian Morales (c. 1675), “there are… Provincial Faces, National Lips and Noses…” There may be some truth in these words, insofar as certain physical traits repeat themselves across a more or less defined region. Then again, if no two faces are identical, how can a face be ‘from’ anywhere specific? Zvezdan says he has often taken a guess at one’s nationality based on the contours of their face, and been wildly mistaken, even after years of experience of portrait photography. WIĊĊNA aims to be an extended snapshot of the nuanced – neither limited nor diluted – diversity of contemporary Maltese society, and a photographic legacy that looks back at the society it has portrayed and looks also into the eyes of future readers.

“Zvezdan’s pictures arrest us partly because they are perennial, the faces in his repertoire seem suspended in an enduring limbo, extracted from any kind of environment. They are individuals who are situated in one specific geographic location at this point in time, but their consciousness most likely endures in multiple loci. The viewer stares at the faces staring back as the burdensome transaction between sitter and photographer is materialised in Zvezdan’s eloquent, ceaseless visual language, and through this work he creates a multitude of pictures that waiver between the individual and universal condition of humanity.”
–– Alexandra Pace, Curator.

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