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Artistic reflections on use of space

A solo exhibition by Tom Van Malderen, enigmatically entitled Except for Access Only, is being held at Malta Contemporary Art, Valletta, until April 21.

The exhibits include: Frozen Target Shooting Playset, a timber structure that is essentially a copy of popular blueprints for DIY target shooting tables found online that is then scaled down to fit a child, which explores isolationism and segregation; Gazebo (monument for the public-private space), which questions the loss of public space; an acrylic and marble structure that reassesses the value attributed to materiality and skill; and Ernst (Neufert) I, a direct reference to Ernst Neufert’s seminal 1936 publication, Architects’ Data, which outlines ways of attaining an optimal balance between maximum space efficiency and minimum space requirement.

Van Malderen’s work ranges from buildings to objects, installations and exhibition design. His practice probes the intersections between art, design and architecture, and looks at the material gestures of everyday design and the construction of social space.

By using architectural and design principles, Van Malderen builds structures that open up a reflection on the value we place in functionality and excellence, or how, for instance, the need for protection is morphing into isolationism and exclusion. The wry, reconfigured structures in Except for Access Only reveal a need to communicate logically, yet with sentiment, yearning for a neutral and impersonal space.

The Except for Access Only exhibition is being held at Malta Contemporary Art, 12, Felix Street, Valletta, until April 21.

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