By Eliza Ghinea
May 10, 2008
I will start this article with a sort of confession: that in the past there were many times when I dared to crush – as poet Blaga says the “world corolla of wonders”. I did that each time when I complained about routine, about the cloudy afternoons or rainy mornings, about days that were too hot or nights that were too cold, about things that were not – as I thought at that moment – perfect.
But often the things around us are perfect and wondrous – they just wait to be unravelled and loved. This is exactly what the artist Joe Calleja does in his collections of photographs, going beyond the appearance of the objects and searching for deeper meanings. Inspired, he realizes that he doesn’t have to go far to discover miracles – they are there for him, at hand – in the crystal objects that he owned for years and with which he became emotionally connected; in the water drops frozen on his window, in the buildings that he sees every day coming to work.
Like Icarus, but soaring the opposite way, Joe immerses himself into the micro-world of crystals – glass or ice, where he starts exploring with both the minuteness of a scientist and the delicate love of the artist. Aware of how fragile the universe is that he discovered, he doesn’t rush, taking time to lead us from one object to another, carefully lighting them so we’ll be able to admire the finest details. And so we step through gallery after gallery, holding our breath, eager to see more, like those who visit a dark cave that, lit by the light of a torch, reveals its glimmering treasures of stalactites and stalagmites.
Because he is an explorer, Joe challenges himself today by leaving the world of micro-crystals in order to reach for the sky, by going from one extreme to the other. He does this in his latest collection of pictures of skyscrapers – where he finds poetry and metaphors in the vertical lines, the sharp, unexpected angles of the familiar buildings which we can see now like we’ve never seen before.
If before we got used to the delicacy with which he handled the fragile wonders of a small universe, now we find a powerful artist that is not afraid to bend light, steel and concrete to make the giants of the downtown express his artistic statement: Delineation / Between earth and heaven lies / Essence of desire.
Bearing in my heart the gratitude that I experience each time when I admire the fruits of an artistic search and struggle, I will let you discover the collections of photographs on http://www.calIejadesign.com, where you can also find the date of future exhibits. His new project with skyscrapers will be online soon. ❖