Out­side the frame

As an artist EN­RIQUE TABONE has ven­tured out­side the pre­dictable and into the world of cre­at­ing ob­jects. She gives Marie Benoît an idea of what art means to her

Malta Independent - - LIFESTYLE ON SATURDAY -

“I cre­ate to keep my mind ac­tive and this in turn helps me to be more cre­ative,” En­rique Tabone tells me. She re­cently opened a bou­tique in Old Bak­ery Street, Val­letta where she dis­plays her cre­ations, pieces of un­usual jew­ellery, cuff­links, bags, work of art in them­selves. She has ob­vi­ous tal­ent but has taken a dif­fer­ent road to that of the av­er­age artist. She doesn’t just paint, she cre­ates ob­jects. What made her take this more orig­i­nal road – at least for Malta. “Liv­ing a pro­fes­sion­ally cre­ative life may be con­sid­ered by some as an easy op­tion but in re­al­ity it is not that at all, es­pe­cially in Malta. How­ever, the more I cre­ate the more I want to ex­plore other cre­ative art projects that move be­yond the pro­fes­sional work in my bou­tique.” The range of works she pro­duces spans from de­signs for her own col­lec­tions to be­spoke prod­ucts that are cus­tom-made ac­cord­ing to spec­i­fi­ca­tions pro­vided by in­di­vid­ual clients. “The works avail­able in the shop pro­vide just one as­pect of my work,” she points out.

She de­scribes her main work as ‘wear­able art.’ “My spe­cialty is mak­ing pieces from plex­i­glass acrylic. Ev­ery piece is unique. This is also be­cause I com­bine fine art tech­niques with in­dus­trial meth­ods. This gives my clients an op­por­tu­nity to wear lim­ited edi­tion items. I have a web­site and sell on­line but by open­ing my bou­tique I have made my artis­tic cre­ations ac­ces­si­ble to more peo­ple.”

Apart from run­ning her bou­tique which she has called QUE she also keeps track of her web­site www.que.com.mt. Both ac­tiv­i­ties she con­sid­ers her full-time oc­cu­pa­tion but also her pro­fes­sion. “Keep in mind that I also de­sign and phys­i­cally cre­ate each piece by hand,” she points out. In

her spare time she is in­volved in run­ning a vol­un­tary or­ga­ni­za­tion that sys­tem­at­i­cally ex­plores ways of pre­serv­ing in­tan­gi­ble Mal­tese cul­tural her­itage. “I am rather pas­sion­ate about this par­tic­u­larly be­cause it is es­sen­tial to pre­serve beau­ti­ful things that may eas­ily be lost due to ‘be­nign’ ne­glect.”

And her idea of art? “Ev­ery­one has their own view of what art is. I be­lieve that no two peo­ple have ex­actly the same view, even if they may come close to agree­ing. Art is very per­sonal. This is why I want to give each in­di­vid­ual per­son who wears my work the pos­si­bil­ity of ex­pe­ri­enc­ing their own unique self through the piece of art they are wear­ing. Sim­i­larly, in my large scale art in­stal­la­tions, I have al­ways been highly re­spon­sive to my phys­i­cal sur­round­ings. When peo­ple ex­pe­ri­ence my art in­stal­la­tions I want them to bring their own mean­ings and emo­tions to them. Any­one who be­holds a work of art will have their own unique ex­pe­ri­ence of it. In this way I am able to have a con­ver­sa­tion with any­one who ex­pe­ri­ences my art and in turn they give the work the mean­ing I in­tended for it. You could say that I see art as a co-cre­ation be­tween artists and their au­di­ences.”

Does she have any favourite artists? “I al­ways find such a ques­tion rather hard to an­swer. How­ever, if pressed I’d prob­a­bly say An­toine Camil­leri. His work is out­stand­ing not only in a Mal­tese con­text but also from a much broader per­spec­tive. His unique style will be ap­pre­ci­ated for cen­turies to come but this is not the only rea­son why I like his work. The rea­son is rather per­sonal as his work pro­vided the first point of con­tact for a very sig­nif­i­cant re­la­tion­ship, which I cher­ish greatly. Although I never ac­tu­ally met the artist, through his work I was able to see that there are other ways to look at life in Malta as an artist.”

Apart from the lo­cal Camil­leri is there any­one else? “If I were to pick one con­tem­po­rary artist that would be Mona Ha­toum, the Le­banese-born Pales­tinian video and in­stal­la­tion artist. I feel an affin­ity with as­pects of her early years in Le­banon and her dis­sat­is­fac­tion with pro­duc­ing purely com­mer­cial work. She has also had a mas­sive in­flu­ence on my views about the way peo­ple who view art in­habit the space of the work to com­plete the in­tended ef­fect.”

En­rique is in a class of her own and puts into prac­tice ev­ery­day her own unique way of look­ing at art and artis­tic ob­jects.

En­rique’s work seeks to cre­ate an ex­pe­ri­ence

Ear­rings that com­bine fine art tech­niques with in­dus­trial meth­ods

En­rique stud­ied Art and De­sign at MCAST

Wear­able art from QUE De­sign Stu­dio

‘Play­fully re­shap­ing the merely func­tional into a de­light­fully crafted ex­pe­ri­ence’

QUE at Old Bak­ery Street, Val­letta

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