It’s a simple thought, but…
Has it ever crossed your mind to just take pictures of old documents? Not well-maintained and fully legible ones, but those, through contact with the elements, that have deteriorated to the point of becoming indecipherable. The secrets and thoughts contained within are lost, and at first glance, these pieces of ruined copy no longer have any value, but is that entirely true? It’s a simple idea, and at first glance the pictures of Alex Attard’s Exhibition “Parallel Existences” are exactly that: simple.
But that does not keep visitors from standing in front of one of these pictures, turning their head to the left, to the right, stepping closer and further away from the piece, just to make something out of it; as though it was an image used as part of a Rorschach-Test. In fact, some of the pieces could count as an inverted version of that test.
Not only does he show us his perspective on these old documents, thereby making them so beautiful and special, but Alex’s exhibition also contains his own original pieces. The photographed documents are there in the room with you, so you can spend even more time determining which angles the pictures were taken from, discovering your own perspective of the pieces – or just enjoying the beauty.
It all started for Alex when the Notarial Archive Foundation asked him to put together an exhibition from the contents of their archives. He visited multiple times to seek out inspiration from the old documents held within. It wasn’t until he entered the “Crying Room”, where all the irreparably damaged books were stored, that he definitely knew what he wanted to do. Over the course of three years he rummaged through the old documents and chose a number of them to photograph in front of a black surface and giving them new identities. With the use of different lighting and camera settings he managed to create interesting effects on the different pictures.
After visiting this exhibition, one thing is for sure: You’ll never say ‘it’s just paper’ again.
For further information you can follow this link (Link: https://www.vallettacontemporary.com/alex-attard-1)
The exhibition was at Valletta Contemporary and it lasted till the 3rd of November, 2018. The gallery was open from Tuesday to Saturday from 11:00am to 7pm . Entrance was free but donations were always welcome and the museum shop offered plenty of souvenirs.
Written by Vivienne Goizet