VALLETTA.- Arts Council Malta
has announced that Raphael Vella and Bettina Hutschek will be the two artist-curators for the Malta Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2017, to be held between May 13 to November 26, 2017.
With their concept Homo Melitensis: An incomplete inventory in 19 chapters, the two artist-curators will present the Malta Pavilion as a poetic compilation of unique things that supposedly define the imaginary of the Maltese identity.
The exhibition will be designed in collaboration with an architectural team led by Tom Van Malderen (Architecture Project). A transmedia storyworld developed in collaboration with Stefan Kolgen will augment Homo Melitensis by creating an interactive and expanding online fictional space that communicates with, yet also transcends, the physical exhibition space in Venice.
Bettina Hutschek is a visual artist, filmmaker and curator who lives and works between Malta and Berlin. Raphael Vella is an artist, curator and educator based in Malta.
The international call for the engagement of a curator/curatorial team to curate the Malta Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale was published by Arts Council Malta, in its capacity as Pavilion Commissioner, in collaboration with MUŻA (Malta's National Museum of Fine Arts, Heritage Malta), under the auspices of Malta's Ministry of Justice, Culture and Local Government.
The winning project was unanimously selected by the jury committee, which included a mix of high profile international names and local expertise on the culture sector. The Jury Committee chaired by Albert Marshall, Arts Council Malta chair, was made up of the following members:
Fulya Erdemci, an international curator and writer based in Istanbul
Alfredo Cramerotti, director of MOSTYN Visual Arts Centre, Wales
Vince Briffa, artist and researcher, Head of Department of Digital Arts at the University of Malta
Alexander Debono, senior curator, Malta's National Museum of Fine Arts and Project Lead for MUŻA
"I am delighted that Raphael Vella and Bettina Hutschek have been selected to curate Malta's Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2017," said Arts Council Malta chair Albert Marshall. "Their exploration of a concept related to identity promises to be relevant to both local and international audiences. Their project will also involve collaborations with other artists, ensuring that the Biennale also serves as a means to an end."
In their first comments to the media after the announcement of the result, the two artist-curators stated they were honoured to be appointed curators with the proposal of Homo Melitensis. "It is not simply an exhibition about various elements of Maltese identity. It is also about the presentation of these elements in various social and international contexts; in other words, it seeks to show how cultural traditions are presented in public manifestations and internalised by a public. Given the self-critical as well as creative function, the role of the artist-as-curator as an agent of deconstruction of canons, traditions and the actual processes of public presentation is central to the proposed Malta Pavilion."
Next year's Malta Pavilion will see Malta officially returning to the Venice Biennale after an absence of 17 years. It has so far participated with a special exhibition of Maltese Artists in 1958 and a National Pavilion in 1999.
The declared 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.