The Malta International Contemporary Art Space (MICAS) celebrated a significant milestone in its journey by hosting its first onsite art exposition What is to become Is already here by Conrad Shawcross. The inauguration of the series of captivating art installations by the celebrated contemporary British artist, against the backdrop of Old Ospizio’s historic military architecture, also marked the launch of the fifth edition of the MICAS International Art Weekend.
MICAS collaborated closely with Shawcross to curate an exhibition featuring his artwork spanning the entire MICAS site, infact “What is to Become Is Already Here” is a showcase of three distinct bodies of work. The title of this exhibition offers a glimpse into its essence: a prologue and an anticipation of what lies ahead at MICAS, scheduled to open next year. It also serves as a poignant reminder that while MICAS is on the verge of a new beginning, the new building is nestled within ancient fortifications that have endured for centuries, bearing witness to remarkable historical events.
Adding to its collection of contemporary art, MICAS proudly announced the acquisition of “The Dappled Light of the Sun (Formation I)” by the same artist- a captivating structure comprising approximately 1,600 tetrahedrons. This exceptional artwork, inspired by the perpetual motion of the natural world, joins the ranks of works by Ugo Rondinone and Cristina Iglesias in the MICAS permanent collection. These acquisitions reflect MICAS’s commitment to democratizing art, ensuring that these masterpieces are accessible and enjoyed by all.
“This exhibition allows us to admire the outstanding art and the equally striking outdoor spaces of the MICAS site,” said the Minister for National Heritage, the Arts and Local Government Owen Bonnici in his opening speech. “This substantial investment in cultural infrastructure not only strengthens our cultural sector but also makes heritage and the arts more accessible to the public. It unlocks new avenues for international engagement and creates fresh cultural tourism experiences” he added.
“Our ambition, spurred by our remit, is for MICAS to develop a solid, exciting and varied international programme that showcases exceptional contemporary art and artists” said MICAS Chairperson Phyllis Muscat, who emphasized that MICAS’s primary remit and mission is to be international in its reach.
Muscat explained how in 2023, with contributions from the European Regional Development Funds and allocated state funding, MICAS reached several milestones in its growth, with the construction of its galleries progressing rapidly. This year also witnessed significant advancements in phase four of the project, enhancing outdoor spaces and courtyards. “MICAS looks forward to its official opening in the next year!” she said.
Contemporary artist Conrad Shawcross recalled how he was among the first artists to experience Malta as a guest of MICAS, and he immediately forged a deep connection with the island’s rich history and unique geography. In his speech, Shawcross remarked that the MICAS site, with its historical significance, proximity to the sea, marina, and panoramic views from elevated vantage points, provided him with boundless inspiration
The MICAS Creative Committee, led by Edith Devaney, collaborated closely with the artist to bring this event to life, showcasing Conrad Shawcross’s thought-provoking works that explore the historic landscape of the Old Ospizio.
The MICAS International Art Weekend 2023 welcomed a strong international attendance and continued on Saturday with a keynote lecture presented by Timothy Rub, the George D. Widener Emeritus Director of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, on the subject of museums’ responsibility to support continuity as well as change and a panel discussion moderated by MICAS’ Artistic Director, Edith Devaney, and including Timothy Rub, Waqas Wajahat, Conrad Shawcross and Dr Georgina Portelli.