Photo: Lisa Attard
Very few artists will bluntly tell you that “there’s nothing to get” in their work. The world of visual arts is replete with people who are only too happy to explain at length about how deep, how metaphorical their work is.
Enter Kane Cali, and his refreshingly different approach for his latest collection, I don’t have a theory, I just have a feeling, currently showing at R Gallery in Sliema. This is a collection that Kane explains is the result of his continuous search for artistic freedom, an attempt to “let go” of the preconceived ideas that are typically present with the artist as soon as they start a new piece.
And what a successful attempt it is. I spot the first two pieces even before I walk into R Gallery, showcased at the very front of this relatively new space, beckoning in passers-by with the bright blue and shimmering gold hues that are clearly visible from the street.
I spend about 40 minutes walking around the gallery, taking in the collection with Kane, but in reality this is the sort of exhibition that can easily keep you mesmerised, staring at a specific work, indefinitely.
It’s a collection that beautifully highlights Kane’s love for the experimental approach. Each piece has miasma of different elements going for it, with Kane eschewing perfection and opting, instead (with a certain amount of difficulty, he confesses) to incorporate imperfections in the narrative.
What Kane refers to as ‘imperfections’ in reality are what keeps the viewer intrigued. Viewing the works from different angles rewarded me with a new experience everytime. My advice is to first take in each work from a distance, so you can sink into the whole, so to speak.
After you’ve had your fill, do take the time to get up close and personal for a different kind of immersive experience. R Gallery is very well laid out for this purpose, offering ample space where you can simply sit in front of a work that grabs your imagination and, well, meditate upon it. Curator Michele Tufigno uses the space to best effect, creating a non-linear narrative that teases and
It possibly sounds strange to choose the word ‘meditate’ when viewing a piece of art. Nonetheless, it fits. There is a strangely mesmerising quality to this collection, and I found myself letting my senses be taken over by the bright hues (a Kane Cali trademark) and differing patterns on the patina.
Facial representations, using multiple moulds for each work, play a strong part in this exhibition. The effect is a progression of feelings, as each mould stimulates a different aura. The beauty of these pieces is that they don’t try to do your thinking for you. Kane fully delivers on his ‘no theory’ promise. This lack of rigidity evokes a reaction that is almost visceral.
I Don’t Have a Theory, I just have a Feeling runs at R Gallery until December 3. For other Malta art and lifestyle features check out Taht il-Kappa tax-Xemx, a review of It-Teatru tal-Miskin or this review of Le Bistro at Radisson Blu.