Member event by
Sofie Muller



Sofie Muller's installation titled ‘The Clean Room’ is one of thematic pavilions of 2024 and is hosted by the National Museum of Archeology in Valletta.

The Clean Room recreates the sterile hospital environment by adding LED lighting and white medical tiles to the space that already has a beautiful marble floor. Seven alabaster baby sculptures are installed on simple metal medical tables covered by transparent boxes and invite the visitors to experience The Clean Room by walking quietly and observe the sculptures. This work refers to the very beginning of our existence and fragility and vulnerability of this moment. 

Muller's work has multiple layers. Together with curators, Azad Asifovich and Asli Samadova, she hopes to touch people and let them reflect about ethical questions of reproductive technologies, ecology, wars. Her work is about how far we can go in our quest to create the perfect baby in a society that is determined by evolution, technology and genetic engineering. A wonderful dialogue is created by placing the contemporary alabaster sculptures next to the artifacts in the National Museum of Archeology. This museum has a unique collection of prehistoric fertility figurines. By looking at them we learn how the earliest sculptors of the time depicted the beginning of life.

Each stone that she uses had already a particular life and was formed by nature before. In her work, nature is the primary sculptor. Alabaster is a stone that has a very wide range of colours (white, pink, grey, brown, black and  blue) and diverse structures of crystals and cracks in the stones. This variety and unique imperfections are reminiscent to human skin.

For The Clean Room, Sofie Muller used multiple varieties of alabaster, sometimes composing the sculpture from several stones different in texture and colour. One baby sculpture was created from the most perfect alabaster stone she could find. The baby is the ‘perfect baby’ in the series.

The Clean Room is an ongoing project she started in 2017 after reading the book ’the makeble baby’ by Petra De Sutter. At that time she was gynecologist and Professor in reproductive medicine at the University Ghent. Nowadays she is deputy Prime Minister in Belgium. 

The Clean Room has its first public presentation in Malta. It took seven years to find the right moment to present it and this opportunity came with an open call for the Malta biennale.


The first Malta Biennale blends ancient history and contemporary art

Sofie Muller

Belgian artist Sofie Muller (b. 1974, Sint Niklaas) crafts alabaster and bronze sculptures and smoke drawings from her Ghent studio. Her oeuvre weaves a complex narrative of body, identity, gender, and memory. Muller’s child sculptures and drawings embody mental states arising from the duality of body and mind. Articulating contradictions, exploring genetic transformation, and reflecting on themes like desire and exclusion, she delves into the human condition. Muller’s continuous exploration of individual vulnerability is supported by materials such as blood, smoke, and alabaster, enriching her installations and works on paper. Her artistic pursuit strives to intimately approach human nature and the essence of life.

Practical Information

Malta Biennale 2024 - White Sea Olive Groves

Date: from 13 March to 31 May 2024

Venues Biennale : various (heritage) sites in Valletta, Cottonera and Gozo

Clean Room Sofie Muller: National Museum of Archeology in Valletta

Clean Room info

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