Patrick Fenech is an established artist and photographer and works mainly from his studio in Senglea, an old fortified city in the Grand Harbour of Malta. He is a visiting lecturer of photography at the Faculty of Art Education and the Faculty of Media and Knowledge Sciences at the University of Malta. Fenech is also the organizer and founding member of Valletta Photography Festival.
Fenech started to take pictures, which reflected his search for artistic expression, after receiving painting tuition from the Malta School of Arts and his dad . His early photography works, the majority of them in black and white, are mainly based on a social documentary of the Maltese Islands in the early 80s. His enthusiasm for photography was fueled further by the visit of Mr Petr Tausk from the photography department of the Faculty of Arts at University of Prague who saw Fenech’s early works and acquired a few prints for his own collection. Petr Tausk published some important books on 20th century photography and introduced Fenech to Sue Davis at the time director of the Photographers Gallery in London. Fenech soon realized the potential of photography in artistic practice and started to produce works such as the ‘Latent Aggression’ series and ‘Cradles of Elegance’.
In 1984 Fenech was awarded a scholarship by the Istituto Italiano di Cultura to study photography in Italy and during his four year stay, produced a series of works which mainly portrayed time and traces of memory called “Via delle Cento Stelle, 13” series. He was official photographer for ‘Musicus Concertus’ of Florence and photographed various personalities such as Lorin Mazel, Barbara Hendrix and Alirio Diaz. In Milan, the Maltese opera singer Miriam Gauci introduced him to the back stage scene of La Scala.
After completing his studies in Italy, Fenech moved to London for a while where he practised printing at Camberwell School of Art and then back to Malta were he set up his own studio of photography and design servicing clients in the media industry. He then moved on to the publishing industry were he was engaged as art director on several art and cultural publications. His involvement in photography has taken his work around the globe with group and individual exhibitions. He has conducted a series of photography workshops and curated his first photography exhibition ‘Pictures in My Mind’ as part of the EU campaign for the ‘Year of Intercultural Dialogue’. He was invited by the committee of the Malta Arts Festival to curate the visual art exhibition for the Arts Festival in 2009. In 2010 he was awarded top funding by the MCCA to organize and curate the first Photography Festival in Malta.
For the past three decades, Patrick Fenech has used his camera for what has been called absorptive scrutiny. He has simultaneously looked at, around and through his subjects to compose a fascinating and dizzying tapestry of composite and montage photography. Although his work is mainly photography based, Fenech also produces sculpture, video and installations.
His works can be found in state, private and public collections such as the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C., The Amercian Embassy and The French Embassy in Malta, Heritage Malta Fine Arts collection, Malta International Airport, The Farsons Cisk plc collection, MSV Life plc, Citadel Insurance, Atlas Insurance plc and others. A number of his works have been published in contemporary art books and international magazines such as Studio International, Lens Culture, Le Soir and NY ARTS magazine. BBC2 has featured his work in the Richard Ellis Archive in one of their TV programmes.
- 2018, November: ‘Dis-‘. Personal multi media exhibition as part of the Valletta Capital of Culture Programme, Space C, Spazju Kreativ St James Cavalier. Curator Andrea Hilger;
- 2018, June: ‘Water Tower Art Festival’ Sofia, Bulgaria. Art residency and exhibition at Miasto 167 Space, G.S. Rakovski Street, Sofia. Curator Nia Pushkarova;
- 2018, February: ‘Contemporary Inside‘ – Six Maltese contemporary artists, Junior College gallery, Msida. Curator Trevor Borg;
- 2017, February: ‘Rhythms of Vision’ – Video art and live contemporary music, Manoel Theatre, Valletta;
- 2017, June: ‘Valletta: Ideal City, Colonial Capital, Gentle Metropolis’ – A showcase of Maltese art at the European Parliament as part of the cultural programme of Malta’s EU Presidency. Brussels;
- 2017, December: ‘Pre-Opening Fundraiser’ exhibition for the new Valletta Contemporary Art Galleries;
- 2015, November-December: ‘Memories of Yunnan’ – Black and White portraits at the Chinese cultural Centre, Valletta;
- 2015, May-June: ‘Chaos In Life, Harmony in Death’ – Video installation at St James Cavalier, Centre for Creativity, Valletta;
- 2014, July-September: ‘The Antithesis of Reality’ – a postcard of the Royal Opera House, Curated by Norbert Francis Attard for the PTR public art commission, Royal Opera House, Valletta;
- 2014 May: 'STARTLE’, A documentary exhibition about START contemporary art group, St James Cavalier Centre for Creativity, Valletta;
- 2014, April-June: Made in Malta : Maltese Art Now, Curated by Dr Vince Briffa, Dar Malta, Rue Archimede, 25, B 1000, Brussels. Belgium;
- 2013, June-October: NordArt 2013, International Contemporary Art, Kunstwerk Carlshuette, Budelsdorf, Germany;
- 2013, June-July: The Farsons Modern Art Collection, Chamber of Commerce, Republic Street, Valletta;
- 2013, March-April: Revisit : The Contemporary Face of Faith, a project by the Jesuits in Malta for the year of Faith to mark the 50th anniversary from the opening of the second Vatican Council. Seven artists seven churches in Valletta with contemporary art installations. Curated by Dr Vince Briffa;
- 2012, November-December: Traces of Traces, Contemporary Photography – Patrick J Fenech and MFA Digital Art students from the Faculty of Media and Knowledge Sciences, University of Malta at SJCAV art centre, Valletta;
- 2012, July: BIG on Bloor Festival, Coaster Project organized by Transcultural Exchange, Toronto;
- 2012, June: Art Takes Times Square, projections of Shroud series on billboards Broadway Plaza, New York City;
- 2011, July: ‘Art In Embassies’ U.S. Department of State, US Embassy opening of permanent contemporary art collection, curated by Imtiaz Hafiz;
- 2010, December: The Mediterranean Photography Festival – Lecce, Italy;
- 2010, July-August: ‘Under the Lighthouse’, Evenings on Campus, University of Malta – projected photography installation. A commissioned project to celebrate ‘Coming of Age – Self Discovery’, university art and culture programme;
- 2010, June- June: ‘In The Loop – Contemporary Video Art from the EU’ selected by a jury from the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery and the Philips Collection to represent Malta in Video Expo from the 27 European countries. National Portrait Gallery, Washington DC;
- 2010, May: University of Izmir – ‘Encounter with a Siren’, Photography exhibition as part of the Mediterranean Maritime History Network Conference programme;
- 2010, May: K2 Contemporary Art Centre, Izmir, Turkey – Residency at K2 and installation art, ‘Traces’;
- 2010, April-May: 6th Biennale of Contemporary Art – Tunis, Keradine Palace;
- 2010, April: GAOCHANGDI PHOTOSPRING – Beijing, Three Shadows Photography Art Centre. Directors Berenice Angremy, Rong Rong & Inri, guest Curator Francois Hebel;
- 2010, March: ‘Global Perspectives’ NY ARTS group exhibition concurrent with the Armory Show, NYC;
- 2009, October: M. Zimmerman Gallery, Hamburg. New photography series ‘Blister re-worked’;
- 2009, June-November: ‘Global Perspectives’ NYARTS Pavilion, concurrent with 53rd Venice Biennale;
- 2009, April: ‘Here There & Everywhere’ – Anticipating the Art of the Future’, Boston, MA;
- 2009, ‘Modernist Malta – The Architectural Legacy’ – B & W Photographs, a project and publication by Chamber of Architects, St James Cavalier, VLT;
- 2008, November: ‘Nuit Blanche’ Paris projected photographs from the ‘Burning Bush’ series – ‘Photographical Identities of Europe’;
- 2008, July-September: Les Nuit De L’Europe, Rencontres D’Arles – ‘Photographical Identities of Europe’ Burning Bush series;
- 2008, July: Summer Arts Festival 2008 ‘New Eye of Osiris’. Joint exhibition with international Architect Richard England – organized by the Malta Council for Culture and the Arts at the Auberg d’Italie, Ministry for Tourism and Culture, Valletta, Malta;
- 2008, January: SIACM International Exhibition of Contemporary Art – Latino Art Museum of America, Pomona California organized by the Barcelona International Association of Contemporary Art and Culture, ‘Pillars of Hercules’ from the ‘New Eye of Osirs’ series; photography montage. 1st prize for photography;
- 2007, November: Biennale Internazionale Dell’Arte Contemporanea – Firenze, photography works from ‘New Eye of Osiris’;
- 2007, May: ‘Apple II’ at Broadway Gallery, NYC – curated by Abraham Lubelski @ 473 Broadway, New York;
- 2007, March-April: NY ARTS Gallery, Beijing – ‘10 International Artists’ 318 Art Garden, Hegezhuang;
- 2007, January: ISIDEM – EU funded project, workshops by Portuguese artist Sancho Silva which culminated in an exhibition ‘60x60x60’ @ Monte Vergini Contemporary Art, Syracuse and Biaggio Steps, Valletta;
- 2007, March: Art residency at Gozo Contemporary – ‘Cactus 99%’ installation art;
- 2006, October-November: ‘Waiting for Columbus’, Auberge D’Italie- Malta. Solo exhibition of photography composites;
- 2006, July: ‘Temptation’, Broadway Gallery, NYC – curated by Tchera Nyengo – Photography montage;
- 2006, January: Noontime in the Boatyard’ photography composites at Montserrat Gallery, 547 West 27th Street, NYC;
- 2005, June-July: ‘Blitz’, Malta at War Museum to commemorate Victory Day – photography installation;
- 2004, December: Noontime in the Boatyard’ photography composites at Woburn Fine Arts Gallery, curated by Zislaw Bieganski, UK;
- 2003, March: ‘Borders’ a contemporary art show curated by Richard Davis from Kent University at the Viset Valletta Waterfront with the support of Vodafone;
- 2002, July: ‘City Spaces’ a contemporary art show curated by Raphael Vella, a YMCA art project using the spaces in an old brothel in Valletta;
- 2001: ‘Noontime in the Boatyard’, Museum of Fine Arts, Valletta, Malta. Solo exhibition composite colour photographs;
- 2000: ‘Art in Malta Today’ – contemporary art collective to commemorate the opening of St James Cavalier Arts Centre in Valletta. Photography installation. ‘Encounter with a Mermaid’;
- 1984: ‘Caged Spaces’, Morozov Palace, Moscow and Shovalov Place Leningrad – Solo exhibitions of B&W photographs, Cultural exchange programme between Russia and Malta;
- 1984: 'Young Photographers’ Gallerija Fenici Med Conference Centre, Valletta;
- 1982: ‘Caged Spaces’, B&W photographs; a social documentary of village life in Malta and Gozo solo exhibition at Gallerija Fenici, Med Conference Centre,Valletta.
- 2018: UOM and ENSP Arles School of Photography workshops and exhibition at Spazju Kreattiv with Tadashi Ono;
- 2017: 'Inside the Fragment’, International Contemporary Photography forming part of the VIVA or Valletta International Visual Arts Festival. Spazju Kreattiv, VLT;
- 2016: TPOTY or Travel Photographer of the Year retorspective exhibition at Spazju Kreattiv, VLT;
- 2014: ‘STARTLED‘ a documentary exhibition about the contemporary art group START forming part of the programme of the 4th EU OMC artist-in-residency programme at Spazju Kreattiv, VLT.
- 2011: Produced and organized the first Valletta Photography Festival VLTPH 11 and curated ‘Ten Maltese Contemporary Photographers’ at the Auberge d’Italie Palace, now the new national museum MUZA, VLT;
- 2009: Commissioned by the Arts Council to curate the summer visual arts exhibition with the title: ‘The Life Model – Between Nude and Naked’, involving international and local artists. Blitz galleries, VLT;
- 2008: Photography workshops with British photographer Chris Tribble involving 12 young photographers from different cultures, as part of the 5 Sense project to celebrate the EU year of Intercultural Dialogue. The work was then curated into an exhibition with the title ‘Pictures in My Mind’ at St James Cavalier upper galleries, VLT.
- Harker Farrand, Margret. Photographers of Malta 1840–1990, F P M. 2000. ISBN: 999932-10-03-X;
- Baldacchino, John et al. 2008. Cross Currents, Critical Essays on Art and Culture in Malta, edited by Raphael Vella. Allied Publications. ISBN: 978-99909-3134-1;
- Borg Carmel and Vella Raphael. Shooting Society, Documenting Contemporary Life in Malta. Midsea Books Ltd, 2012. ISBN: 978-99932-7-419-3;
- Cassar, Joseph Paul. Art in Malta Today, St James Cavalier Centre for Creativity, 2000. ISBN 99932-0-067-0;
- Malta Arts Council, Celebrating 20 years of the Malta Jazz Festival. Malta Council for Arts and Culture, 2010. ISBN: 978-99932-0-911-9.
- ‘Noontime In The Boatyard’ – Photography composites, solo exhibition at The National Museum of Fine Arts, Valletta, DEC 2001 – JAN 2002;
- ‘City Spaces’ – START Contemporary. YMCA Valletta. JULY, 2002;
- ‘Borders’ – START Contemporary. Pinto Vaults. 06 FEB – 02 MARCH, 2003. ISBN: 99932-0-248-7;
- ‘Blitz’ – START Contemporary. Birgu Wartime Shelters 31 MARCH – 01 JUNE 2005. ISBN: 999932-0-403-X;
- ‘Twenty-five years 25 Artists’ – Middlesea Insurance 25th Anniversary. A historical overview of the modern art scene in Malta. 12 -22 JULY, 2006. ISBN-13: 978-9932-0457-2;
- 7th Edition of the Florence Biennale, Fortezza Da Basso. Arte Studio S.r.l. 2007;
- The European Year for Intercultural Dialogue – Cultural Contact Point (CCP) Malta, 2008;
- Malta Arts Festival – ‘New Eye of Osiris’ , Malta Arts Council visual art exhibition. 2008;
- Nuit Blanche Paris, 4th October, 2009;
- ‘Here, There and Everywhere: Anticipating the Art for the Future’ – Transculural Exchange, Boston, 2009;
- ‘In the Loop’ Contemporary Video Art from the EU – Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Washington DC. June 2010;
- ‘Image et Mirage’ 6th Biennale Mediterraneenne des arts de la Ville de Tunis, 2010;
- V.18. ‘Imagine’ bid book for Valletta Candidate City for European Capital of Culture. 2012. ISBN: 9789995702991 pg 20/21;
- NordArt 2013, International Art Exhibition 08 JUNE – 06 OCT, 2013. pg 143;
- ‘Traces of Traces’, Contemporary Photography. 09 NOV – 02 DEC, 2012 pgs 01-37;
- ‘The Farsons Modern Art Collection’ – Exhibition at the Malta Chamber of Commerce, 2013;
- Bianchi Petra & Miceli-Farrugia Alberto. Modernist Malta: The Architectural Legacy. Chamber of Architects, 2009. ISBN: 978-99932-0-692-7.
- NY ARTS magazine, Vol 12 No 1/2, pg 150. 473 Broadway, 7th floor New York;
- ART FAIRS International, Vol 2 No 11/12, pg 71. 473 Broadway, 7th floor New York;
- Grip, Malta International Airport magazine May • issue 15, 2006 pgs 16-17;
- ‘In Flight’, Air Malta magazine;
- ‘Circle’ magazine, Times of Malta;
- ‘First’ Malta Independent magazine;
- ‘Le Soir’ magazine, Belgium.
- www.maltatoday.com.mt/arts/art/…/don-t-fear-the-future-patrick-fenech- 20130730;
- www.maltatoday.com.mt/arts/art/…/the-moments-that-get-away-patrick- fenech-20121113;