Review: Decadence, Now, Malta Society of Arts, Palazzo De La Salle, Valletta, 11-31 May 2023


  • Lara Camilleri


Moving through and beyond the fin de siècle, Decadence, Now was comprised of a multidimensional display of artistic works, paraphernalia, artefacts from museums, galleries and private collections, and contemporary art. This was accompanied by musical performances in the fashion of salon gatherings, featuring songs and operatic extracts from Italy, Germany, and France, as well as the premiere of a song cycle by Karl Fiorini, composed in response to the music of the Belle Époque. Curated by Andrew Borg Wirth and featuring art by Luke Azzopardi, Andrew Borg Wirth, Maria Theuma, Michael Zerafa, and Rebecca Bonaci, the exhibition considered ‘decadence’ as a unifier of numerous artefacts across a breadth of styles, epochs, and subject matter, while foregrounding the curatorial process as an artistic manoeuvre in its own right.