Maleth / Haven / Port - Heterotopias of Evocation is the title of the selected curatorial project that will represent Malta at the next Biennale di Venezia in 2019.

The winning team is composed of Dr Hesperia Iliadou Suppiej (lead curator), Vince Briffa (artist), Klitsa Antoniou (artist), Trevor Borg (artist) and Perit Matthew Joseph Casha (architect/designer). The production management team is composed of Mr Stephen Ciantar and Mr George Lazoglou.

The aim of the Malta Pavilion is to offer a platform through which Maltese contemporary artistic practices understood within the broadest sense of the term can be exposed, contextualised and presented to an international audience.

Dr Hesperia Iliadou-Suppiej (lead curator)
Setting Malta, Maleth, at the centre of its theme the project focuses on the role of the island as cultural centre of the Mediterranean Sea, both in history and in current times. The project seeks to present an exhibit which invites the audience to reflect on their own lifetime journey of self- discovery, their own search for a personal Haven/ Port.

Drawing on the tri-fold of history/archaeology, myth/tradition and vision/expectation, the exhibit aims to create within the space of the Malta National Pavilion a topos/locus of artistic conversation for the whole of the Mediterrenean Sea. Absolutely entuned with this year’s theme of the Venice Art Biennale as described by its artistic director, Ralph Rugoff the project ‘will aim to welcome its public to an expansive experience of the deep involvement... engaging visitors in a series of encounters...’, leading to self- discovery.

Creating a space within space, Evoking Heterotopias invites the audience to participate in an intuitive dialogue with the artworks which are organically placed within the built shell of the Venetian Arsenale. As vessels/islands within a sea, artworks come together, in creating a unique experience for the visitor, who is asked to traverse the exhibition space in a voyage of self discovery that takes place in a suggestive fictitious space of controlled light and sound.

CAVE OF DARKNESS – PORT OF NO RETURN
A site-specific installation by Trevor Borg

Trevor Borg’s work titled Cave of Darkness– Port of No Return dives into the distant historical past of the island of Malta and of the Mediterranean itself to re-imagine the story of Għar Dalam cave. His work proposes a re-imagined narrative of the story of the pre-historic animals that found refuge there only to finally meet their death when the level of the seas rose.

In a site-specific installation meticulously researched by the artist, excavated remains of never-seen-before creatures and peculiar artefacts retrieved from now lost ancient Mediterranean cultures re-emerge to expose new layers of meaning.

The artist invites the visitor into a mystical journey of surprise and self-inquiry navigating through the pre-historic layers of Malta in the footsteps of its earliest inhabitants and their final end. The work is an exploration of entrapment concealed within a safe haven.

OUTLAND
A multi-screen projection by Vince Briffa
OUTLAND focuses on the indecisiveness of man as he longs to return to his original life, caught between the safety of an island and the peril of sea crossing.

Inspired by The Odyssey, it uses the myth of Calypso and Ulysses to reinterpret, in contemporary imagery and sound, the duality of the character of Calypso, as lover and oppressor, as she offers a haven for Ulysses during the seven years of his harbouring in her cave.

Through multiple films, the installation explores the numbness and the lure of safety, the obsession of keeping someone hostage and the longing for freedom.

ATLANTROPA: A HETEROTOPIA OF EVOCATION
A multi- media installation by Klitsa Antoniou
Atlantropa was a gigantic engineering and colonisation idea devised by the German architect Herman Sorgel in the 1920s. His project proposed to partially drain the Mediterranean forming a European supercontinent.

Today, more than ever, the Atlantropa scheme (of forming land bridges in the Mediterranean) seems relevant as it is suddenly fortified by contemporary intensity to remind us of the limits on freedom (migrants and refugees) and the destiny of the inhabitants of this area (surviving amid military, political, economic, social complexities/contrasts, migrations and fluid topographies of rejected, forgotten, unseen and silent memories).

This project in the context of the Malta Pavilion will aim to conceptually and artistically join the two islands of the Mediterranean, Malta and Cyprus, by offering glimpses on the utopian drives and the dystopian fallouts that characterise the Mediterranean area.

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES

Lead Curator
Dr Hesperia Iliadou de Subplajo-Suppiej
Hesperia is an elected professor in the History of Art &Architecture and a Museum Studies specialist, member of ICOM-Italia, the International Council of Museums. Educated at the NTU Athens, the University of London (Bartlett) and the Research Centre of Museum & Galleries of the University of Leicester, she is currently researching socially engaged strategies in curating and the creation of a new museum in Venice dedicated to artisan practices and the arts.

Since 2014 she has been acting commissioner for the Venice Biennale and involved in different aspects of the research and organisational process of exhibiting in Venice. She has curated different exhibitions of both contemporary art and historical themed museum exhibits, lastly being curator of the inaugural exhibition of the European Capital of Culture 2017.

She lives in Venice, where she currently teaches Museology, Exhibition Techniques and Socially Engaged Art at the MA in Curatorial Practice at the European Institute of Design. Her academic publications and research focuses in contemporary practices in representing and exhibiting the cultural history and arts of the Mediterranean Sea.

Artists

Dr Trevor Borg
Trevor is a practising artist, curator and lecturer within the Department of Digital Arts at the University of Malta. He holds a PhD in Fine Art practice from the University of Leeds and his work spans a diverse range of media from drawing to painting, sculpture, photography, film, and installations.

He has worked in the creative industries, namely within the design sector and with Heritage Malta, the national agency for museums. 

His work has been shown in numerous museums and galleries internationally and he regularly delivers talks and papers related to art practice and research.

He has exhibited his work at the MKM Museum Küppersmühle Duisburg, Künstlerhaus Vienna, Museum voor Moderne Kunst Oostende, European Parliament, NRW-Forum Dusseldorf and Stadsschouwburg De Harmonie Leeuwarden, among many others.

Professor Vince Briffa
Vince is Associate Professor and Head of Department of Digital Arts at the University of Malta. A multi-disciplinary artist educated at Leeds University and UCLan in the UK.

He is a Fellow of the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, New York and curated exhibitions at the NRW-Forum, Düsseldorf; the Münchner Künstlerhaus, Munich; Les Rencontres Arles, France; Leeuwarden, the Netherlands amongst others. Briffa has published numerous papers and books related to art practice.

As an artist, he has exhibited in major museums and art galleries worldwide, including the Venice Biennale (1999); the United Nations Building, Geneva; the Museum of Modern Art, Liechtenstein; the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Santa Fe, Argentina; Palais Liechtenstein, Austria; the Museum of Fine Arts, Romania and the Museum of Modern Art, Tel Aviv amongst many others.

He was also commissioned projects by the Cork 2005, Pafos 2017 and Leeuwarden-Friesland 2018 European Capitals of Culture. His work forms part of numerous private and public collections.

Dr Klitsa Antoniou
Klitsa is a Professor of Fine Arts at Cyprus University of Technology. A multidisciplinary artist educated at Wimbledon School of Art, St Martin’s School of Art and Design London (B.F.A.), Pratt Institute (M.F.A.),  New York University, USA (D.A. Program) and Cyprus University of Technology (PhD).

As an artist, she has exhibited in major museums and art galleries worldwide. She  has been an artist in residence in many countries and participated in numerous workshops and seminars. Her work has been exhibited in Herzliya Museum, Israel, Circulo de Bellas Artes, Madrid, Palais du Rhin/Drac Alsace, Strasbourg, Arte Contemporanea Pinerolo, Torino, Sandstrom Andersson Gallery, Sweden, Exhibit Gallery, London, Antrepo, Istanbul, Espace Commines, Paris, Pulchri Studio, Hague, Macedonian Museum, Thessaloniki, Wonderland Lotte Square, Quanzhou, China, Bozar Expo, Belgium, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sarajevo, Skanes konstforening, Malmo, Sweden, Petach Tikva Museum, Israel, Museum of Nanjing University of the Art, China and The Museum of the Arts of the 20th and 21st Century, St Petersburg, Russia. She  has won numerous awards.

Architect/ Designer
Perit Matthew Joseph Casha
Matthew is an Architect and Civil Engineer specialising in architectural and spatial design. Having graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering and Architecture in Malta, Matthew pursued his studies with a Masters Degree in Construction Project Management in Aberdeen, Scotland. Before founding his own studio, Matthew worked on a number of major national projects, which involved integration of spatial planning with high end detailed design.

Through the mission of ‘Inspiring change through creative action’, Matthew has successfully worked on a number of architectural and spatial projects promoting good design through industrial, commercial and residential projects.

Besides practising architecture, Matthew is also experienced in project leadership, as well as in the organisation of local design exhibitions and festivals, such as Malta Design Week 2012 and 2014. Having a keen eye and passion for design, Matthew has also successfully participated in various local and international design competitions.

Production Management Team
George Lazoglou
George has studied Electronic Engineering and Energy Management systems. Parallel to this, he attended Photography and Theatre Lighting Courses and workshops in Edinburgh, London and Thessaloniki. He has a MA in Multimedia Design, from the Cyprus University of Technology, in the research area of “Virtual Reality and Theatre” (2012). In addition, he completed a year in the Doctorate program in professional Studies at Middlesex University in the subject of Multimedia Applications in Contemporary Theater.

He is a production manager and a light designer working in the Theatre area specializing in Light and Multi-media Design. He was project Manager for a number of International Visual Arts Exhibitions both in Cyprus and abroad.

Under his direction, as a Production Manager of Paphos2017 European Capital of Culture, some of the biggest and most important performances and artistic events ever happening in Cyprus were planned and implemented.

Stephen Ciantar
Stephen is the Managing Director of an import and distribution company specialising in power, control and lighting automation systems, with direct emphasis on lighting design automation. His company has undertaken numerous lighting projects in all sectors of the market, namely upscale residential lighting, commercial and industrial systems.

Previously Stephen has worked with German and American owned companies in the electronics manufacturing sector and was responsible for Sales Export and Business Development for various regions, globally. He has on numerous occasions organised the respective company’s participation in international exhibitions across many countries.

Stephen has over 20 years of managerial experience in international trade, export and business development and has also managed numerous projects bringing together product specialists from various countries thereby promoting cross border collaborations.

More info:

Arts Council Malta announces winning project for the Malta Pavilion at La Biennale di Venezia 2019

Call for a Curatorial Team for The Malta Pavilion at the 58th International Art Exhibition at La Biennale di Venezia 2019