Part series of academic reflections, part catalogue, this book commemorates the exhibition Decadence, Now., held at the Malta Society of Arts, in Palazzo de La Salle, Valletta, on 11–31 May 2023. The artefacts in this exhibition use decline and decay as loci of self-expression. They are obscure fragments from a time which establishes the cult of the self and reinvents the art object, but they also contribute to a new lineage. The performing and visual artist-curators of Decadence, Now. investigate progress in its most recent sense and react not only to elements from another time but also to their own context today. They dwell upon time itself because to do so is the ultimate imperative of the Decadent. They—and, on this threshold, you, with them—are engrossed in the perennial question: What is Decadence?
Featuring Luke Azzopardi, Andrew Borg Wirth, Ivan Callus, Maria Frendo, Luke Galea, Andrew Huth, Lucia Micallef, Denise Mulholland, Michele Tufigno and Kathleen Vella.
We stand, always, on a threshold. There, a lineage that is sewn by artists, musicians, writers and thinkers across cities and at different times. Decadence, Now. situates the viewer at such a cusp.
As modernity beckons in Europe at the turn of the twentieth century, there is a moment of recoil, which seems not only to extend the sentiments that precede it but also immerse them into altered states of consciousness. This subversion of reality presents an opportunity not to simply look back but, rather, for artists to forge a future forwards.
First published 2023 by order of City of Art
by Impeached, a division of Von Peach GmbH
Suurstoffi 37, 6343 Risch-Rotkreuz, Switzerland
on the occasion of the exhibition
Malta Society of Arts
Palazzo de La Salle, Valletta
11–31 May 2023
Editor: Maria Theuma
Image and Catalogue Researcher: Luke Azzopardi, lukeazzopardi.com
Catalogue Writer: Andrew Borg Wirth, andrewborgwirth.com
Designed by Mike Zerafa
Printed and bound in Malta by Polidano Press Ltd, Ħal Luqa