An interdisciplinary programme including a series of salon concerts, a catalogue with academic interventions, a research seminar, and an exhibition of historical artefacts juxtaposed with contemporary artworks, held at Malta Society of Arts, Valletta.

Awarded Multidisciplinary Project of the Year 2023, Premju Għall-Arti, Arts Council Malta

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.

The artefacts in this exhibition used 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. investigated progress in its most recent sense and reacted not only to elements from another time but also to their own context today. They dwelt upon time itself because to do so is the ultimate imperative of the Decadent.

They—and, on the exhibition’s threshold, the audience, with them—are engrossed in the perennial question: What is Decadence?