Cristina Iglesias, Sea Cave (Entrance), 2021. Medium: bronze, water, hydraulic mechanisms and time, constructed Maltese landscape with soil, limestone boulders and Mediterranean flora. Location: Hastings Gardens, Valletta, Malta. Photo courtesy: Malta International Contemporary Art Space (MICAS). Photo by: Daniel Cilia.

Experiencing Sea Cave(Entrance)

8th March 2022

Words by Sixtine Catrice, Intern at MICAS

When I arrived at Hastings Gardens, I did not see it immediately and was at first attracted by the landscape overlooking the Marsamxett Harbour. I only heard it in the beginning, wondering where the sound of rushing water was coming from. Suddenly, while advancing to embrace a better sight of the panorama, my eyes lingered on a bronze bas-relief rooted in the ground. This was Sea Cave (Entrance), the site-specific sculpture realized by the Spanish artist Cristina Iglesias and specially commissioned for the third edition of the MICAS International Art Weekend in 2021.

The first thought that came to my mind was that there was no barrier between the work and myself. It attracted me, so I approached to see it more closely. I was intrigued by the way the sculpture fit into the gardens’ landscape. The water flowing towards the depths of the sculpture gave me the feeling that it was sinking far underground. Might Sea Cave (Entrance) be linked to the sea that surrounds the Maltese islands? The water that at first slid slowly along the holes that pit the walls of the cave-like  entrance started to flow more and more, creating new streams of water, until they ebbed and stopped completely. What remained was the weak echo of water running in the depths.

The changing melody of the work according to the different rhythms of flowing water was conducive to a peaceful atmosphere, and connected me with the time that passed while I was examining the sculpture. This feeling is recurrent while experiencing Iglesias’ work, in which water flowing discontinuously is used as a poetic way to connect her art to the passing of time. In the words of the artist: “The use of water makes time more visible, more present. The use of time and how you can work with it even in musical terms, the sequences you can create, the sounds of it – I’m interested in bringing the perception of all of it into the work.” [1]

From that moment onwards, my eyes were attracted to the cave and I was captivated by the way this entrance created a secretive aura around what was hidden deep inside. Even while I was moving about to see each part of the sculpture from different angles, I was not able to determine the core of the bas-relief. How deep was it? The underside of the work seemed close and far at the same time. Was it possible that the two parts of the work were connected to an underground network of caves and corridors much larger than one can imagine, even reaching the sea? By focusing on “connections between spaces[2] and the suggestion of hidden places, Cristina Iglesias has the ability to create “imagined places”, inviting us to become aware of the environment surrounding us.

Sea Cave (Entrance) is an exhibition presently accessible for the public at Hastings Gardens, Valletta, from Monday to Sunday, 7.00 – 19.00 hrs. It will eventually be relocated to the MICAS Sculpture Garden.

Learn more.

[1] Iglesias, Cristina. 2021. “Cristina Iglesias in Conversation with Iwona Blazwick”. Liquid Sculpture, The Public Art of Cristina Iglesias. Hatje Cantz.

[2] Iglesias, Cristina. 2021. “Interview with Cristina Iglesias”. MICAS Channel. Available at

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