Biennale History





Helga portanier1Helga Portanier is a Maltese artist based in Brussels. She studied art with various local artists. From 1999-2002 she pursued her artistic apprenticeship with Mro. Pawlu Grech, focusing mainly on drawing and composition. It was under Mro Grech's influence that she began to integrate musical concepts such as rhythm, tone and tempo into her drawings/paintings. During this period, Helga also studied History of Art and Theatre Studies at the University of Malta.

After completing her studies, Helga travelled to London to read for a Masters Degree in Chinese and Japanese Art at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Her research focused on Chinese literati, ink painting and cross–cultural encounters between Chinese/Japanese and European art. The philosophy of Chinese and Japanese painting, their focusing on the process, the 'truth' of the brushstroke, was to have a huge impact on her work.helga portanier2

In May 2005, The National Museum of Fine Arts, Malta, hosted her first solo exhibition. Another solo-exhibition followed in 2008, entitled 'Mikrokosmos', (National Museum of Fine Arts, Malta), inaugurated by the late Mr Dennis Vella. In 'Mikrokosmos' her deep interest in geological micro-elements and natural transformations are transmuted into an abstract plane. This theme pervades most of her work up to this very day.

Since moving to Brussels, Helga has taken part in various exhibitions. In 2009, she took part in a collective exhibition entitled 'Donumenta, Regensburg-We are all on the same boat' held at the Representation of the Free-State of Bavaria to the EU in Brussels. Her first solo exhibition in Belgium was launched in 2013 at Cabinet Artistique Libre Choix, Brussels, with the project: 'Nowherescape'. 'Nowherescape' is an ongoing project consisting of variations on a theme. Landscapes of 'nowhere', having 'no-escape', the dichotomy between the limitations of the canvas and the depth enabled by the medium of painting, together with the notion of probing, probing in the dark until the process itself opens up infinite possibilities , are the themes she explores in 'Nowherescape'. In February 2014 she took part in a collective exhibition at 'Chapelle de Boondael', Ixelles, Brussels.

Alongside painting, Helga has been teaching art in Malta and Brussels to adults and children. She also designs book covers, posters, etc.

Details of her current work can be followed on her website: www.helgaportanier.com

Mdina Biennale Venues