Between spring and summer 2018, curator Maren Richter brings Valletta 2018’s major visual arts exhibition to our European Capital of Culture, with large installations, performances and public interventions taking place in both traditional and unexpected locales across the country. Among the exhibition’s star sites is the Pixkerija at Barriera Wharf, a Grade 2 scheduled building that was built in the 1930’s.
Richter is working with more than twenty-five established and emerging artists from fifteen countries –including Malta, France, Austria, Egypt, Germany, Syria, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Ghana, Spain, and Palestine – who are collaborating with local partners around the Islands.
The title Dal-Baħar Madwarha is inspired by a quote from the work of philosopher Gilles Deleuze, ‘The island is what the sea surrounds’. This sets the tone for newly commissioned and existing pieces that explore the idea of “islandness” in playful and critical ways. It’s an artistic journey through the contemporary realities of the Maltese Islands, placing at their helm the Islands’ relationship with their closest neighbour – the Mediterranean Sea.
The exhibition re-traces borders, imagining new geographies that view the sea as fluid and transformable rather than another physical barrier between people, places and culture.
In Richter’s words: “The multi-site programme invites international and Maltese artists to recast and respond to current and past urgencies and challenges, in which the Mediterranean Sea plays a significant role […] The island is a mode of pausing, familiarised by a certain romanticism. Whereas the sea looms large in the language of our imaginations; it is a site of reflection, voyage, and volatile freedom.”
In the light of such thought-provoking inquiries, the exhibition explores the identity of our Islands within a wider global context, bringing creative, social and political visions of the Mediterranean to light through the region’s most iconic and enduring image: the deep blue sea.
Opening days & times:
Underground Cistern: Open 11am – 7pm (Last ticket sale 6.15PM, last admittance 6.30PM)
Examinations Centre: Open 11am – 7pm (Last ticket sale & admittance 6.30PM)
Pixkerija: Open 11am – 7pm (Last ticket sale & admittance 6.30PM)
The exhibition kicks off on the 10th of March, with public space works by Manaf Halbouni in Birżebbuġa, Valletta and Qala (Uprooted), and an intervention by an Austrian art collective around Malta and Gozo (Fleeting Territories – Mapping Malta). Works are also underway for a large scale installation by James Micallef Grimaud to be displayed in the Marsa and Grand Harbour docks (Ġiraffa).
The 25th of March sees the opening of a sculptural installation by Aidan Celeste in Valletta (What Will Fall), a participatory installation by transparadiso in Valletta and Gżira (Times of Dilemma), Ibrahim Mahama’s site specific installation in Valletta’s Pixkerija (A straight line through the Carcass of History) – open until the 1st of July, and a site specific sound installation by Susan Philipsz in which visitors can explore Valletta’s hidden underground (Who By Fire) – also open until the 1st of July.
Also opening on the 25th March is a group exhibition in the Examination Centre in Valletta. This indoor exhibition includes artists such as:
- Heba Y Amin (Egypt)
- Hela Ammar (Tunis)
- Bettina Hutschek (Germany/Malta)
- Raphael Vella (Malta)
- Gilbert Calleja (Malta)
- Fernando Sanchez Castillo (Spain)
- Lida Abdul (Afghanistan)
- Adrian Paci (Albania)
- Wael Shawky (Egypt/America)
- Antoine Cassar (Malta)
- Aaron Bezzina (Malta)
- Center for Political Beauty collective (Germany)
- Embassy for the Displaced/Scan Lab/Stefanos Levidis
- Kristina Borg (Malta)
- transparadiso (Austria)
- Tania El Khoury (Lebanon)
- Fleeting Territories (Austria/Sweden)
- Manaf Halbouni (Syria/Germany)
The group exhibition is open until the 27th of May.
Tania El Khoury will also be delivering “Sejjaħ lil Malta”, a site-specific sound installation which kicks off with a performance on the 6th April, which explores our changing perception of the Mediterranean Sea.
Kristina Borg will be presenting “No Man’s Land”, a participatory excursion aimed at discovering new forms of territory along the Valletta coast. Boat trips will be starting in the beginning of June.
The exhibition venues (Pixkerija, Underground Cistern, St Elmo Examination Centre) are open on Tuesdays to Sundays from 11am to 7pm (last entry 6.30PM). Venues are closed on Mondays.