Review - UNITY in Venice


Oct. 2022. New issue of XIBT magazine, launching at Paris Photo 2022: "features a critique of captivating conceptual artist and thinker, Gill Gatfield's UNITY" by writer and curator Roxane Latrèche:

At once totem and monument, personal spiritual token and collective unyielding pillar, Gill Gatfield’s UNITY probes the symbols for which it stands. Among the sinuous waters and alleys of Venice, its two specifically-sited I-forms materialise. One nestled on a wall; a jewel among the many pendants that adorn the halls of the 15th-century Palazzo Bembo, built on the Canal Grande to house the treasures of a noble merchant family – Harmony, a miniature sculpture, a crest to its surroundings. The other erected on the ground; a virtual stela among the perennial pines of the Giardini della Marinaressa, confronting the storied lagoon as have for centuries warring and parading ships – Native Tongue XR, a monumental digital structure, a vestige of its histories. ...


UNITY Review - Artscore


Oct 2022. In the frame of the exhibition UNITY in Venice, curator Bohdan Stupak interviews Gill Gatfield for contemporary art review publication ARTScore, canvassing the artist's relationship to the city of water, her sources of inspiration, dedication to natural materials, conceptual approach to minimalism, and the embodied critique of democratic ideals in her Venetian sculptures: Native Tongue XR 2018-2022, Harmony 2022, and Zealandia 2018.

"Venice mirrors the mind. Full of mystery and intrigue, the city physically plunges the body into its hidden streets and canals: narrow and winding, enveloped by the darkness and the elements of the centuries. Secret passages force people to come closer: anonymous whispering bodies passing by. ... Being inside Venice is like being inside a sensory cave. Creativity runs through the veins of the city."


ARTScore - English


English Translation of ARTScore Interview


Digital Art Feature


Sept 2022. A new article expands on the digital artworks in Personal Structures 2022 by ([{ collective, Superchief Gallery, Carrie Able, Gill Gatfield, Sasha Sparks, Corine van Voorbergen, Mark Dotzler, and Marianna Williams:

Contemporary art continues to incorporate new technologies and new paradigms, encouraging spectators to explore different ways of thinking and seeing the world. Being an open and progressive platform at the forefront of current developments in art and society, the European Cultural Centre selected for its biennial art exhibition 'Personal Structures' a group of artists and galleries that contribute to the realm of digital art. ...

At Giardini della Marinaressa, New Zealand sculptor Gill Gatfield presents Native Tongue XR, a three metre virtual sculpture existing in the Metaverse. ... Merging creative technology within the framework of conceptual art, the artwork presents as an immersive sensory experience while also using the method of its making as critical content to build further ideas. In Gatfield’s practice, extended reality is a means and not an end. ...


UNITY Review - Venezia News


Sept. 2022. Gill Gatfield's UNITY features in Venezia News round-up of digital art at the Venice Art Biennale 2022 that relates to the city and the future. In her review 'Personal Structures - The Dawn of New Art', journalist Elena Migotto identifies the two sculptures in UNITY - Harmony and Native Tongue XR as 'artworks in search of new expressive scenarios':

.. More disorienting still are the ways in which New Zealand sculptor Gill Gatfield ... reclaims space in the Palazzo Bembo and the Giardini della Marinaressa. In the first case, two sculptures, independent, connect as much in the form that characterises them as in their proportional scales: Harmony is a miniature I, while Native Tongue XR is a monumental I. Once again here, the use of the Metaverse appears crucial to eliciting the sense of intangible attraction with which the concreteness of the totemic Native Tongue is deconstructed, transcending the bounds of immediate materiality. … 


UNITY Catalogue


In Venice, European Cultural Centre launches a new publication on the artist's work in the biennial exhibition Personal Structures 2022. Designed by the artist, the micro-catalogue reflects the UNITY methodologies: miniature and metaverse, physical and digital, and includes excerpts from an upcoming review by Berlin based curator Roxane Latrèche, accessed via QR code.


ECC Artist Feature

The One in UNITY: the I-figures of sculptor Gill Gatfield

Sept. 2022. An indepth aritst interview by European Cultural Centre sculptor curator Vittoria Mastrolilli explores the research and ideas within the forms, materials, methodologies and contexts of the site-specific project UNITY presented in 'Personal Structures' at the Venice Art Biennale 2022; and asks how this work expands on the artist's sculpture Zealandia in 'Time Space Existence' at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2018.

"UNITY evokes the wisdom of ancestors and new philosophies to activate the mind’s eye. From early Buddhist teachings and the 6th century BCE musings of the Ancient Greek slave Aesop to the 19th century CE whakatauki by Māori King Tāwhaio, spiritual guides call for strength in unity when confronted with adversity. ... This project imagines how the forces of unity can be shaped in the Anthropocene, a period of self-centrality and drive to dominate not only the ‘Other’ – nations and people outside the centres of power – but also the Earth and the biosphere."


Artist Talks in Venice

Presenting UNITY

Sept. 2022.  New Zealand sculptor Gill Gatfield presents two artist talks on UNITY, from ancient worlds to the metaverse, a philosophy and practice explored in two precisely sited sculptures - the precious miniature Harmony at the C15th Palazzo Bembo and the digital monument Native Tongue XR at Marinaressa Gardens on the monumental Ventian promenade. At these two public events in the historic waterfront venues, the artworks are activated in the Metaverse and in physical space. Hosted by European Cultural Centre, the presentation of UNITY is opened by New Zealand Consul General to Italy, Austin Brick, and includes the launch of a new catalogue with text by contemporary art curator Roxane Latrèche.


European Cultural Centre

Gill Gatfield UNITY in 'Personal Structures'

22 April-27 Nov 2022. Invited by European Cultural Centre to present her work in Venice for the second time, NZ artist Gill Gatfield conceived a new project UNITY for the exhibition Personal Structures 2022 presented in parallel with La Biennale di Venezia. ECC invites artists from across the globe to present work, thoughts, and research in the biennial exhibition that will stimulate new and inclusive dialogues, unlock ideas and experiences, and advance cultural exchange. First conceived in 2002 as an itinerant programme of exhibitions, symposia and publications in Asia, North America and Europe, the project found its home in Venice, Italy in 2011 where the first edition of Personal Structures took place. As a crossroads of cultures and important exchanges in history, Venice is a reference point for developments in contemporary art and a place where the past, the present, and the future coexist.


Curator Essay


July 2022. From the Venice Architecture Biennale 2018 to the heritage landscape of Government House Auckland NZ, curator Ineke Dane explores the systems challenges and new directions heralded by the stone monument Zealandia  its inaugural presentation in Venice, and its new ‘site intuit’ on the volcanic slopes of Maungawhau, Mount Eden:

From time immemorial utopia has sat on the horizon, in sight but out of reach, a mirage. Defined infinitely, the concept of a place and time where all are free to be and live equally is what drives us, regardless of the process. ... Aotearoa New Zealand artist Gill Gatfield’s sculptural gesture to the future, Zealandia, confronts this discussion. Through the figure ‘X’ (a chromosome, a kiss, a Roman numeral), it frames our pivotal moment in time by referencing the past, while simultaneously operating as both zeitgeist and emblem for a world to aspire to ... 


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