27th April 2023
Ruth Bianco is an artist who explores a wide range of multidisciplinary practices roaming between tangible and digital media. Her preoccupation with the dynamics of space has led her to embody a choreographic metaphor for itinerancy and transboundary movement integrating conceptual notions of the elusive boundary with geo-cultural and transitional spaces. Her themes often traverse the tenuous gap between terra firma and terra in-firma stemming from the ebb and flows between sea and land and the evolving ecologies of our changing world. These have found expression in Tidal Dialogues and Transit Zones, creative frameworks for engaging various metonymic eco-migratory subjects like Sealand, Żoni, Documents of the Sea, Ghost Birds, and Lines of Migration. Her artworks typically combine media technologies with tactile or spatial interventions using video, sculpture, drawing, collage, objets trouvés, artists books, stitching, paper and cloth assemblages, extending the parameters to curatorial networks and online projects.
The tumultuous Covid lockdowns (2020-2022) led to a reflective juncture to explore both the potential and ramifications of this historical ‘glitch’ through a poignant anthropologic questioning of space utilising ubiquitous networks to develop Space is your own Expression, an Instagram project based on a house-plan designed with curator Verena Voight (Germany); followed by other independently curated Insta-assemblages called Collage as Philosophy (C.A.P.), Tapping a Paradox (T.A.P.), and Intimations of Roundness. These projects continue to serve as a deep probing into the meaning of space, home and our virtual migrations, inspired upon Gaston Bachelards iconic work The Poetics of Space.
She has exhibited extensively, travelling to participate in significant exhibitions and country representations such as Femme dEurope (San Tropez), Breakthrough (The Hague), Dans la Nuit des Images (Paris). In her role as professor of Fine Art at the University of Malta she initiated Art in Architecture, an innovative framework introducing pedagogic environments for contemporary transdisciplinary spatial practice merging Art and Architecture, having led numerous exhibition projects for young architects exploring physical, virtual and urban spaces interactively. She also taught and developed critical artistic research in contemporary art at the UCA, University for the Creative Arts UK, and other European universities. Her publication Camouflage, Revolution and Desire of 2012 explored new prospects in collage interweaving tactile, digital and spatial spectrums to reinterpret stills from radical New Wave filmic iconography. She continues to pursue collage as a trans-historical ‘glitch’ reflective of our unsettling temporal and spatial boundaries; our altering cultural spaces and geographies spurred by speeded expression and assimilation.
Alongside her freelance studio work, she is actively engaged on expertise and award panels, most recently on the 2022 MASP architectural awards, having also served as a consultant on national culture boards, notably as art director of the Malta International Contemporary Art Space.
Her work is held in the national collections of Heritage Malta, the Special Archive Collections of Tate Britain, the V&A Museum and Royal College of Art London, and forms part of the international European Parliament Contemporary Art Collection, Brussels.
Photo credit: Ruth Bianco