This project is supported through the Project Support Grant of the Malta Arts Fund

Michael Fenech

We Lost the War is a collaborative project between visual artist Ryan Falzon and curator Michael Fenech. The final outcome was an exhibition of large-scale paintings at St James Cavalier.

The body of work created by Falzon for this exhibition investigates social and political themes related to violence. This theme was chosen as it provides the potential for treatment on several levels, public and private violence, institutional and political as well as subtle and personal. It allows the artist to explore the various facets of a theme through which he faces his own personal conflicts.

The title of the project We Lost the War refers to the idea of loss on a number of levels, of which two can be considered more important. The first is the violation and exploitation of the notion of a national identity. At this level, Ryan demonstrates himself to be a politically and socially committed artist who constantly strives for relevance. The second level is the concept of personal loss, such as lost love and failed relationships. Here the artist shares reflections on personal experiences through a highly expressive painterly language. Although the themes will be tackled from a subjective point of view throughout the whole project, they challenge the viewer to rationalise the images, while at the same time to empathise with the work.

Falzon’s work sits uncomfortably within contemporary styles that bring together expressionistic aesthetics combined with a deeply felt intellectual and critical rationality, and this balance between concept and aesthetics is going to be explored and studied extensively while creating this body of work. Over the years Falzon has built an opus of ‘uneasy’ work, whose apparent brashness may seem merely to demand attention. In reality, his work can be very rewarding to viewers who are ready to invest quiet time in reflection.