No Smoking During the Apocalypse

Fine Art

“And what shall I love if not the enigma” – Giorgio de Chirico (quoting Friedrich Nietzsche).

In this collection of oil paintings artist Julian ‘Julinu’ Mallia presents a visual series of unlikely encounters that are imbued with an aura of poetic ambiguity and laced with a dash of absurdist deadpan humour.

Within this monochrome universe, impossible objects float over a celestial background, the real merges with the digital and Tony Montana dines with Jesus Christ. Beneath these highly imaginative juxtapositions, however, lies a more sobering concern about the search for meaning when confronted with what Albert Camus refers to as “the unreasonable silence of the world”.

Through the creation of these contemporary musings executed using traditional oil painting techniques, Mallia attempts to regain a fleeting illusion of control within an indifferent universe. Although the paintings are meticulously researched, staged and executed, they take an unpredictable life of their own when they make the journey from the artist’s inner mental landscape to the outside world.

Thematically, this collection can be understood as being somewhere in between a continuation from the artist’s previous solo exhibition ‘Julinu’s Radioactive Ravioli’ and a springboard onto more ambitious, ambiguous and daring visual concepts – while still maintaining his distinctive visual wit and aesthetic.

Curated by Melanie Erixon.

The exhibition ran from 10th May till the 2nd June 2024 at Il-Kamra ta’ Fuq, Mqabba, Malta.