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3 panels, 12 x 84 cm each, 2006

In this photographic collage, Norbert Attard experiments with an inverted representation of the street pattern of Valletta. The orthogonal street grid of Valletta is intrinsically an exquisite piece of engineering, not a work of art. It can be regarded as an abstraction, in as much as a form of geometric pattern which was overlaid on the natural topography that once constituted the barren Mount Sciberras peninsula. The city that emerged during the late-16th century was from its inception physically determined by the form of Francesco Laparelli’s geometric diagram as it flourished into the historic city as we know it today. Attard through his personal juxtaposition of photographic frames provides us with a different abstraction of the city. Whilst adhering to the strict orthogonal geometric rigour that inspired the city, he highlights straight corridors of azure blue skies whose stillness are tempered by wisps of light white clouds, all framed within the vertical walls of the blocks that compose the city. The artist progresses from depicting the physical city space to creating metaphysical abstract forms. It is akin to one of Calvino’s invisible cities where the streets are not paved with cobble stones, slabs of shiny hardstone or the more mundane layering of tarmac but by the clear blue skies unfettered and uncontaminated by the presence of pedestrians and vehicles. We observe this inverted cityscape and the sky streets suspended high above us as if we were worms observing it from the abyss below.

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