Photo: Homo Melitensis / Instagram
The Malta pavilion has returned to the Venice Art Biennale after 18 years. It came together under the title Homo Melitensis, and takes the form of a collective exhibition investigating the quest for a national identity through artistic, archival and documentary elements.
The exhibition, includes works by Maltese artists and artists from the Maltese diaspora, interrogating the unpolished aspects of Maltese life. The pavilion has been curated by Bettina Hutschek and Raphael Vella – two major stalwarts in the Maltese contemporary art scene; whilst the exhibition was designed by Tom Van Malderen from Architecture Project – one of Malta’s most prominent architecture studios.
Back with a bang!
The run up to the opening saw Malta’s pavilion already being featured in some of the art world’s most prominent publications. Frieze Magazine and Art Review both ran features on it – a strong prelude to the pavilion’s ultimate reception.
Since its opening it’s been included in a number of reviewers’ Biennale-highlights-lists. This is a huge deal seeing as the entire event is massive and includes some of the most celebrated artists and curators from around the world.
Included in The Guardian‘s Top 5 Pavilions
Laura Cummings, art critic for The Guardian named the Malta pavilion as one of her top five picks to see at the event. Here’s her description of the pavilion:
“Sardonic, hilarious, Malta’s tongue-in-cheek portrait of itself through films, paintings and sculptures as a set of nearly insurmountable cliches – Maltese knights, falcons, rabbits, votives, Maltesers (who knew?). An island so riven by politics that even appearing at the Biennale is controversial: is it a vote-catcher?”
Let’s hope this means the Malta Pavilion will become a regular at the Venice Art Biennale. Don’t forget that this year’s event runs till the 26th November, so if you want to visit the pavilion that’s been catching art critics’ eyes – you can still hop on a flight to Venice and do so.
Massive well done to everyone involved. Including:
- MUŻA (Malta’s National Museum of Fine Arts, Heritage Malta)
- Ministry of Justice, Culture and Local Government
- Cultural programme of the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2017
- Contemporary art programme of Valletta as European Capital of Culture 2018
John Paul Azzopardi
Maurice Tanti Burlo’
Exhibition architect Tom Van Malderen/Architecture Project
Architectural assistant Martina Cutajar
Graphic design Jon Banthorpe
Curators’ assistant Greta Muscat Azzopardi