Untitled (Ix-Xemx) – recap

It all started with a story: “All day long the little boy worked hard in field and barn and shed; but every day, when the work was done, there came an hour which was all his own…”

In the story (dated 1903) I am referring to, a poor boy sees Golden Windows every day from his room, and imagines the rich people living behind these glistening windows…

The announcement for the FRAGMENTA-event UNTITLED (Ix-Xemx) was clear and ominous at the same time: On October 2nd, the sun will set at 18:44. The sun, the main protagonist of this event, was to be celebrated in a site specific installation by artist Sandra Banthorpe. The event was announced to take place between 5:15 pm and 6:45pm only. This set the tone for an event born from the idea of story of the Golden Windows, which brought together a childhood story, illegal boat houses, a beautiful bay and Sandras installation-building capacities.

Visitors were invited to come to St. Thomas Bay in Marsascala, known to be a popular local beach in the south of Malta, with multiple constructs of (illegally built) boat houses, that have merged by now so much into the landscape and the unconscious mindset of Maltese that they have become part of the normal landscape. Looking out from St Thomas Bay, one sees clear waters, a fantastic blue sky, in the far distance to the left the ruins of a formerly richly decorated Jerma Palace Hotel, and in the far right, a left-over bunker construction from the Second World War – in short, a typical Maltese scenery. Behind you, you’d hear Maltese picnic and BBQ sounds, the tunes of the Ice-Cream Truck, and shouting children… it all feels, smells and looks like summer holidays.

This setting proved to be the perfect match for planning and setting up the event, that was in a challenging way a culmination of the FRAGMENTA “rule”: you have to be at the right place in the right moment. If not, you’ll miss the event. If you get your coordinates aligned you will discover the treasure: with you, as visitor, the story of the Golden Windows became a metaphor for discovery, growing up, learning to live in the world we live in, and learning to observe.

Did you know that Sunset on Mars was blue?

Visitors were invited to discover the story of the Golden windows by getting together in pairs of two and unrolling/ rolling back the story printed on another very long roll of fax paper, reading it as it rolled by the eyes, following the little boy move through his day full of discoveries, through their own body movements. They read: “but as he faced West and looked across the valley in front of him, behind him the rays of the rising sun struck the window panes of his own home, bursting into a dazzling golden light…”.

Looking up, the visitors saw the sun reflected by something in the distance, which then caught their attention: in fact, the sun was reflecting in a golden ominous, crystal-shape structure, seemingly floating next to the bunker in the distance.


As the sun got closer to the horizon, the glistening got stronger, presenting a poetic experience which cannot be described in words, bringing the Golden Windows into St Thomas Bay. As the sun went down, the golden reflection vanished – the afterimage in our retina kept holding on to the visual energy of the installation for a bit longer, before heading home in darkness.

2016_fragmenta_xemx_sandra_picbettina_11Sandra, a known sun- and beauty-aficionada, describes her impetus as such: “As a visually poetic reminder of the inevitable, this installation also prompts us to remember that we can(not) take everything for granted. Things are often not what they first appear. In contrast to this and to the sun’s irrefutable predictability, we are then ‘slapped in the face’ by its ability to dazzle and seduce, rendering the average with a new lease of life.”

So off you go, friends and neighbors, to go and look for your own Golden Windows – believe me, you can see them almost every day. It depends on your point of view… GO!


On Sunday, October 2nd, the sun set at 18:44, while Civil Twilight ended at 19:08.

Visitors arriving late found a romantic pontoon – and the lingering atmosphere of some ungraspable discovery.

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Untitled (Ix-Xemx) – on OCT 2nd 5-7pm


The next FRAGMENTA-event is going to take place at St. Thomas Bay in Marsascala on Sunday, October 2nd.
Artist Sandra Banthorpe invites visitors to the poetic site-specific installation “UNTITLED (Ix-Xemx)”. According to calculations, the sun will set at 18.44 after a day-duration of 11h and 56min length.

BEST VIEWING TIME: 17:30 to 18:30

UNTITLES (ix-xemx) is based on a story which accompanied Sandra during her childhood, but which even more becomes a metaphor for discovery, growing up, learning to live in the world we live in, and learning to observe. there is also an element of a larger quest in life – but we would not want to say too much before the event.

Sandra describes her impetus as such: “As a visually poetic reminder of the inevitable, this installation also prompts us to remember that we can(not) take everything for granted. Things are often not what they first appear. In contrast to this and to the sun’s irrefutable predictability, we are then ‘slapped in the face’ by its ability to dazzle and seduce, rendering the average with a new lease of life.”
UNTITLED (Ix- Xemx) is a time-and site-specific installation scheduled to happen at the moment the works protagonist, the Setting Sun, makes its dramatic daily exit. As a visually poetic reminder of the inevitable it also prompts us to remember that we can(not) take everything for granted. Things are often not what they first appear.
In contrast to this and The Suns irrefutable predictability we are then ‘slapped in the face’ by its ability to dazzle and seduce, rendering the average with a new lease of life.
To then go (sometimes accidentally) and discover this for yourself is to realise the intention of the work itself …. BUT to never get greedy, and remember as long as the earth turns, there’ll always be a tomorrow…

As usual, FRAGMENTA is open to all public and free of charge.
FRAGMENTA is supported by Valletta 2018 – European Capital of Culture

Malta-born Sandra Banthorpe lives primarily in Malta where she currently works as practising artist, As well as an accomplished Set Decorator on internationally acclaimed feature films and stills work.
Having studied at Chelsea college of art and at Camberwell Art college, her work maintains a distinct element of sculptural being, be it in the re-appropriation of the everyday, or the conjuring of a past life; her work inevitably culminates in a consciously collected harmony.
Sandra also ran an independent gallery space, 2c Albert rd (uk) for many years and is the Creative Director of the Kinemastik international film Short Festival & its childrens film festival ‘Little Rock People’ .
Sandra is a sun aficionado.

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Leave me alone I am an ODZ hiding – Recap

On April 24th 2016, FRAGMENTA was holding a 1-day-event with two guided tours around the topic of “Outside Development Zones” with German artist Erik Göngrich.
What does art have to say about Outside Developent Zones, does art have a say at all in political issues?

Marsascala North Policy MapIt all had started with a demonstration FRAGMENTA attended in Valletta in 2015, organized by Front Harsien ODZ and various NGOs, to protest against the development at Zonqor point, which according to the local plan for Marsaskala should form part of a national park. Zonqor Point is part of Marsascala, land which was sold to the private construction group Sadeen in order to develop a private “university” which does not exist as such. At issue during the protest were not only the actual locality at Zonqor point, but also Maltese development zones in general, Outside Development Zones (ODZ), some public lies, profit-making, government “liberties”, the sell-out of public land to private investors, environmental issues and the striving for sustainable development.


FRAGMENTA invited German artist and architect Erik Göngrich to develop a piece of art around the location of Zonqor Point. Erik has for years examined our notions of urbanity today and their extent of reflection on our urban reality. FRAGMENTA thought that he was the one and only one who could ask the question: “What the heck is an Outside Development Zone?”

In collaboration with FRAGMENTA, Erik researched and developed a walking tour with site-specific elements to implement during the tour.

For the FRAGMENTA- event on April 24th, Erik took participants for a walk around the supposed area of the national park / contested university building ground, in order to discuss the “zone-ness” of this Outside Development Zone together with the artist. The tour started on a wide road which was created in the 70s from rubble dumped here during the construction of Dock 6 of the Grand Harbour.

Campers are and were building their more or less temporary shelters along that road, while hunters were passing by occasionally. Erik was suggesting a sculptural view of the informal qualities of the public sphere. Then we turned into a field road and walked up towards Zonqor Village. Here, the highlight of Erik’s sculptural vision of landscape was his suggestion of the sculpture of a kohlrabi (in Maltese: ġidra) on a plinth. Coincidentally, this would give a powerful but subtle message to the viewers, as “kemm ġidra” also means “how stupid you are” in Maltese – funny coincidences in the process of art creation…

Erik had produced a series of drawings and prints for the occasion, which were successively handed out to the participants of the tour. These were used during the guided tour as mobile billboard and were handed out to the audience to take away as little booklets. Erik’s drawing of the Maltese coast line made visible the extensive use and transformation of this area throughout the last century visible – impossible to combine this thus used territory with the image of “pristine and untouched” nature.


When asked about his approach to drawing, Erik states: “Drawings are a tool to summarize different experiences and information on one paper. Making a drawing is making a statement. It is sometimes more real than a photo and it “talks” more than a lecture. I love the German word “bezeichnen” as a description: pointing out something and drawing on something at the same time.”

Erik took the visitors on a physical and mental tour through different terrains and questions: What are we developing or not in Development Zones? What can be done and not done in an Outside Development zone? Can you build, or camp, or make fires, or hunt? What would change if you turned this area into a national park? Who does it belong to, now, and in the future? Can you bring motorized vehicles? (Obviously, everyone was driving around here…) What is a natural park, and what is a national park, and what is the difference?

The terminology of the Outside Development Zone, which is very unique to Malta and does not exist in any other country, was examined: Is it a field, is it nature, is it untouched environment? Or is it an area not for building? What would be an alternative to building (a university complex for example) – what could be examples of sustainable development? (Meaning and including the fact that also sustainable development is still a sort of development).

Referring to previous work of his in national parks in Marseille and in Germany, Erik pointed out differences and similarities in dealing with issues. By contrasting the problematic of Zonqor Point with international counterparts, the subject matter became very open and wide and invited participants to formulate their own ideas and wishes for the territory they had just walked on and looked at. The physical interaction – meaning, we were WALKING AND STANDING on the same grounds we were discussing – with the environment fueled the discussion.

Thanks to all the participants, thanks to Erik Göngrich for a wonderful piece, thanks to V18 for supporting FRAGMENTA and special thanks to Charlot Cassar and FRONT HARSIEN ODZ for help in getting in-depth information.

For more information:


Planned nature park at Zonqor to be expanded by 44,000 square metres timesofmalta.com

House approves ‘American University’ property motion after night-long debate – timesofmalta.com

Details emerge on proposed government contract with Sadeed Group for new university – timesofmalta.com

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Leave me alone I am an OUTSIDE DEVELOPMENT ZONE hiding – April 24th

FRAGMENTA is holding a 1-day-event with 2 guided tours around “Outside Development Zones” with German artist Erik Göngrich.
You might ask: Outside of what?
Outside of city structures would mean that one finds oneself immediately in nature or immersed in agricultural areas. In such a case, one is in a field, but not in a zone… Visitors are invited to a specific presentation on site, and to participate at a tour to some of these “fields” and discuss them and their zone-ness together with the artist.

For the event, Erik Göngrich will present 2 guided tours lasting each about 45-60 minutes.

Starting times of the performative tours:

Everybody is welcome. The tour is free of charge. The walk is very easy, but better bring good walking shoes if possible.

Link to event on FACEBOOK



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It all started with the Old Testament, as many things did: “My sister, my spouse, is an enclosed garden, an enclosed garden, a fountain sealed up,” reads the Song of Songs: “Hortus conclusus soror mea, sponsa, hortus conclusus, fons signatus“. Hortus conclusus literally means “enclosed garden” and is both an emblematic attribute of the Virgin Mary in Medieval and Renaissance poetry and art, as well as a genre of actual garden.

For the 1-day-event of the same name, FRAGMENTA presented works from different periods and in different techniques of artist Teresa Sciberras, which all revolve around the theme of the Hortus Conclusus. This collaboration was an exciting one for Teresa, as she expresses in her words “It gave me the opportunity to tie together several trains of thought that I have been following over the last few years. It also allowed me to reconcile two aspects of my practice which I sometimes see as conflicting: text and image, language and picture-making, words and paint.”

Situated in the 17th century Cloisters of the Dominican Monastery of Rabat, FRAGMENTA felt very welcome in this atmosphere of shifting light and whistling wind… (Side note: According to Dominican sources, the Dominican friars came to Malta in 1450 and built their first friary at Rabat over a cave where according to tradition the Virgin Mary had spoken to a sportsman who had taken refuge there.)

FRAGMENTA was not hiding an untouched womb or protecting a woman from sin, however, the cloisters provided welcome shelter, as every garden history notes: “gardening, more than architecture, more than painting, more than music, and far more than literature, is an ephemeral art; its masterpieces disappear, leaving little trace.”

Visitors were invited to freely wander through the open galleries forming a quadrangle. Along the walls of the covered walk, FRAGMENTA and Teresa had chosen and arranged images and texts, which have inspired Teresa in her work. Teresa states “Putting the show together almost became like an intertextual game, where each of the objects on display – the texts, the reproduced works, my pieces – pointed towards others, which pointed towards others, etc. Some connections I knew were there, others dove-tailed in the making of the exhibition. The texts were a gathering of extracts, excerpts, and quotes that I have used directly or indirectly in my work –either as motivation or material. The posters were blown-up details of postcards which I have collected on visits to exhibitions, museums and galleries, mainly in Italy, of frescos and paintings, mainly from the Quattrocento, which have impacted in various ways on my work.” The images and motifs included Taddeo Gaddi, Agnolo Gaddi, Simone Martini, Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Benozzo Gozzoli and unknown artists. The oldest image, dating back to the 9th century, showed a medivial poem (and a small monk) by Rabanus Maurus. 06_2016_Fragmenta_HortusConclusus_picBettinaHutschekThe images were accompanied and juxtaposed by carefully chosen quotes, ranging from Dante, Norman Mailer, to Borges and Italo Calvino.

Various combinations of historical references and images produced a space of imagination free to explore. “La fantasia è un posto dove ci piove dentro. / The imagination is a place where it rains,” says Italo Calvino in his book Six Memos for the New Millenium. (1988), and we look upon an episode from Orlando Innamorato, depicted during the 17th century– a man dropping from the sky, while two figures observe his fall. There is also an eagle of some sort, and looking at that oil painting on pietra paesina, we cannot help but feel that we are falling as well, sucked into the whole of imaginative temptation.12_2016_Fragmenta_HortusConclusus_picBettinaHutschek

Teresa finds the perfect 13_2016_Fragmenta_HortusConclusus_picBettinaHutschekquote for this sensation from Peter France, from The Philosopher’s Garden (2004), speaking of Julie’s Garden in Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s La Nouvelle Heloise (1761): “Nothing is solid and impenetrable. People inhabit places and vice-versa. And in returning to places, people revisit their past. Time, place and their inhabitants are able to invest one another. This is because their true location is not in the physical world so much as in the imagination, or the heart. Where the intellect divides them, the heart mixes them into something evanescent, an aesthetic state of categoric imprecision. Sensibility has the peculiar property of being able to do contradictory things – to inhabit and escape what is present before us. Its ideal locus is the garden, a condition without solidity.”

Looking at details of Lorenzetti’s frescos the contemporary visitor might think something similar to Jacques Derrida in The Truth in Painting (1978) “What is a box? Is the text in the box separate from the text outside the box? How is it linked? What is the border, the margin, the frame? Is it outside or inside the box, and why do we talk of a box, say, and not a square or an oblong, a coffin or a crypt? What are we trying to hide? Or what are we hereby hiding? What is a box?”


The activities most often portrayed in the numerous fifteenth-century paintings were sitting, walking and playing music, whereas strenuous activities were inappropriate – the contemporary visitors captured the spirit very well, dwelling in the arcades, looking at the gardener going about his duty.

Some visitors followed the 42_2016_Fragmenta_HortusConclusus_picBettinaHutschek“Instructions on how to draw the Basic Maze” by Aidan Meehan. Maze Patterns. (1994) “Take a line from the foot of the figure, round the outside, through the gap and on inside. We have entered the fort. Then produce the top of the figure down and round to end alongside the end of the spiral, and bring the end of the spiral back in the opposite direction using the horns as guides. Then erase the horns and you have the fortress.”

About the biggest painting on exhibition, 10_2016_Fragmenta_HortusConclusus_picBettinaHutschekTeresa explains: “It is from a series of works called Little White Lies: a collection of paintings of hybrid structures of ambiguous scale and function. Aside from its art-historical references, this piece derives from a body of photographs I collected on my daily walk from Valletta to my studio in Hamrun. It includes details of the urban fabric, both permanent and temporary, especially in the context of Valletta being redefined. Features such as scaffolding or barriers, which come and go, interact with more permanent or typical features such as bastions or balconies, but this interaction points to the constant activity of construction and demolition that belies permanence.”

A late 15th century variant of painterly depiction was to combine the Annunciation in the Hortus Conclusus with the Virgin and Unicorn, popular in secular art. There was no unicorn in the FRAGMENTA-garden, but magic was still around: A real birds nest became manifest in a gryphon’s nest; the Cathedral of Siena was supported by a wooden pallet; Monks were caught surrounded by squirrels and fishing in the countryside on a detail of Agnolo Gaddi’s 14th century fresco; Simone Martini’s noble knight Guidoroccio da Fogliano was riding along the balustrades of the cloister, and other small surprises were tucked away in corners and niches, …

Teresa expresses this best by saying “The beautiful Dominican cloister was an ideal setting for this slightly disorientating labyrinth, as well as the key link in the chain of references. All the works relate to enclosures of some sort – literal, architectural, spatial, metaphoric, spiritual, linguistic, and the need to try to either escape from them or somehow exist within them. This is the kind of space – a real hortus conclusus – that, after a while of wandering around and around within it, makes you want to ask: is there actually an outside?”

“I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space.” William Shakespeare. Hamlet. Act II, Sc.2.

09_2016_Fragmenta_HortusConclusus_picBettinaHutschekSpecial thanks go to Prior Paul Gatt, who welcomed FRAGMENTA with an open heart and open mind, to create a garden of sublime delights of quotes and images.



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FRAGMENTA is pleased to announce its spring edition with artist Teresa Sciberras.

For the one-day exhibition entitled “HORTUS CONCLUSUS”, Teresa will present works from different periods and in different techniques, which all revolve around the theme of the HORTUS CONCLUSUS or closed garden. For the event, FRAGMENTA will organise a leisurely walk in a garden, accompanied by motifs and texts from the Renaissance to our times, which have inspired Teresa in her painting.

TIME: Sunday, March 20th, between 11 am and 4 pm

LOCATION: The Dominican Convent in Rabat.

MysticCaptureofUnicorn copy

Teresa Sciberras is a visual artist working mainly in painting, drawing and collage. She studied at the University of Malta, Santa Reparata International School of Art in Florence and Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen. Previous exhibitions include New Contemporaries (The Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh, 2008); Research: RSA Awards in Focus (The Royal Scottish Academy Edinburgh, 2009); the Biennale des Jeunes Createurs d’Europe et de la Mediterranee, XIV edition, (Skopje, 2009), A New Generation (MCA, Valletta, 2010), Little White Lies, (The National Museum of Fine Arts, Valletta, 2012), Kaleidoscope: Contemporary Art from EU Member States (Dublin, 2013) and Good Walls Make Good Neighbours (Valletta International Visual Arts Festival, 2015). She currently lives and works in Malta and teaches at the MCAST Institute for Creative Arts and at the University of Malta.


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BLIND AMBITION – Film Screening and Q&A

As a brilliant start into the year 2016, FRAGMENTA presented a film screening of “Blind Ambition”, followed by Q&A with artist Hassan Khan.

Blind Ambition (two girls shopping in roxy)

Hassan Khan, video-still from Blind Ambition (2012). Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Chantal Crousel

2016_01_Fragmenta_still_Blind Ambition_HassanKhan

Hassan Khan, video-still from Blind Ambition (2012), single channel video, dubbed and synchronized voices, HD video shot on a Samsung Galaxy SII cell phone, 46 minutes. Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Chantal Crousel

“Blind Ambition” (2012, 46 min.) is a film shot with a cell phone with 27 actors in nine different episodes that take place at different times of the day in public places across the city. Shot in stark black and white and completely silent, except for the voices of the actors, it is an attempt to crystallize and suspend an emotional condition that seethes under the surface of a collective, to produce a portrait of selves held together by a fragile intent.

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