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Art Discussion Group - Malta

144th Meeting Artist

Darren Tanti - a Neorealist

The 144th Art Discussion Group Meeting will be held on Tuesday 17th January 2017 at 19.30hrs at the China Cultural Centre in Melita Street Valletta. ADG is inviting Darren Tanti (b.1987) an artist and art master. He excels in a Neorealist stance and quite versatile in a brand of social realism. Darren is fond of shocking as in his painting of a crucified female figure and in ‘Corpse of Reality’ that somehow echoes Francis Bacon or perhaps Lucian Michael Freud.

In ‘Il-Ħajjata’ he demonstrates his predilection for optical illusion, in transforming the painted subject into a high definition photographic image or his work: ‘L’Annalisa’ where Neorealism becomes Surrealism or hyper-realism. Andy Warhol comes to mind while scrutinizing the Kinnie bottle or the plastic bag behind the female haloed image.

Darren Tanti captures the attention of the viewer by the universality of his images. He is an eclectic. He merges east and west, bonds contemporary and past masters, fuses past and present and seems to shed doubt on the notion of national art. He believes more in a unified art as in truth, art is in the air and is not confined by geographical boundaries.

He believes in an international language or better still in a universal one. The wider the interpretation of a work the more universal it becomes.

The artist will surely elaborate about his recent travels to China in August 2016 when he was chosen to join a group of local artist as part of the China Art & Culture Exchange Programme and his participation in ‘Inspired in China – Fine Arts Exhibition by Maltese Artists 2016’. In the work he submitted for this exhibition Darren creates comparisons and contrasts: a Chinese modern woman standing next to a peasant woman from the Romantic period as we come across in 'The Young Shepherdess'  by William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825 -1905). The landscape brings the two figures together in the manner of a collage, or as in cut and paste. 

In the image of a ‘Child’ Darren fuses monochrome and colour but experiments further by merging a study of Clara Serena a child by Rubens and an image of a Chinese boy that the artist came across in his journey in China. The surreal element surfaces in the two pairs of eyes that look up and down. Again in another collage a mother and child are depicted against the details from the famous painting ‘Las Meninas’ by Diego Velazquez. The interconnecting laughing dwarf, originally painted by the Chinese artist Yue Minjun and quoted by Darren, seems intent to bond reality with the surreal.

Darren’s reference to the old masters is a call to sanity. He seems to hint that grazing on pastures new is as positive as old pastures since tradition is the collective wisdom of man as there is no break between past, present and future. Art is a continuous process, an expression without bounds. Darren comments thus: ‘…the artist, no matter where, likes to play even though it is usually serious play’.

Art is a reflection of life and therefore universal.

Darren will answer questions from the floor regarding his vision, concepts, approach and technique. He will also elaborate about highlights in his career and particular works that gave him great satisfaction.

E. V. Borg

ADG Chairman