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 ... 


Mirror Image

SCAPE Public Art 2022

June 2022. Ōtautahi Christchurch based SCAPE Public Art curates New Zealand’s premier public art exhibitions, showcasing leading national and international contemporary artists, and providing a springboard for emerging local talent. Season 2022's Catalogue features Mirror Image by Aotearoa NZ sculptor Gill Gatfield with artworks by leading Māori artist and curator Prof. Robert Jahnke and Tongan Diaspora artist Sione Monū - recently profiled in NY Times Queer Indigenous Artists Reclaiming a Fluid Sense of Gender.

Mirror Image holds the outline of a C19th cheval mirror, an object connected with domesticity and feminine beauty, and a 'good' commonly traded or gifted to indigenous peoples in an era when mirrors represented the coloniser's god-like power. Neither mirror nor image, the sculpture's geometry and optical effects cast shadows that replicate a 'mirror image' on the ground. An alluring sensory experience, Mirror Image faces backward and forward, offering a glimpse into non-linear time.


Artist Panel

CoSA Opens with Panel Discussion

28 May 2022. Artist's Panel opens the public programme of Conversations on Shadow Architecture: CoSA artist Gill Gatfield and architect/designer Clare Kennedy from Five Mile Radius speak with architect and academic Chris Fox, and curator Ineke Dane about their contributions to CoSA. An accompanying publication features writing and images by each exhibited practitioner and texts by leading thinkers in Critical Spatial Practice: Keller Easterling, Markus Miessen and Aleksandra Wasilkowska.

Dominik Mersch Gallery Sydney 28 May - 25 June 
DMG Curator Award Exhibition
Supported by Australia Council for the Arts & Arts Queensland



International Exhibition

Conversations on Shadow Architecture

May 2022. Award winning curator Ineke Dane brings together national and international artists, architects and composers to explore Critical Spatial Practice - a theoretical lens and practical mode that critically engages with the cultural, social and political potential of space and architecture. The multidisciplinary exhibition 'Conversations on Shadow Architecture' presents work by artists and architects from Albania, Aotearoa NZ, Australia, Egypt, Germany, Greece, Peru, and USA.

"The contributors to C o S A were invited because their practices resonate with the non-hierarchical limbs of our thought exercise: creatives who disrupt the machine or reject the monotony of what’s practiced in the everyday. They step clear of the well-beaten track to provoke the core of our humanness—and its shadow—recalling the currency of fluid, liminal and responsive existence." 

An a
ccompanying publication features writing and images by each exhibited practitioner and texts by Keller Easterling, Markus Miessen and Aleksandra Wasilkowska.


Artist Interview - Venice

Contemporary Hum Interview - Venice Vernissage

22 April 2022. At the Venice Biennale Vernissage, Contemporary HUM editor Pauline Autet and writer Genista Jurgens interviewed artist Gill Gatfield for HUM's Biennale Blog:
"We visited Gill Gatfield, a sculptor from Aotearoa known for transforming unique materials including rare stones, gold and ancient wood into poetic minimalist forms. She is also no stranger to exhibiting in Venice, having had work in the 2018 ECC exhibition during the Venice Architecture Biennale. Gatfield has used the symbolic ‘I’ form, shaped as the first person pronoun and the number one joined at the shoulders/heads and hips/legs in many of her works. In 2022, Gatfield is presenting UNITY, twin sculptures located in two venues – one miniature at Palazzo Bembo, one virtual and monumental in the Giardini della Marinaressa of the Venetian waterfront accessed through a QR code and custom application. The artist describes the two works as pillars forging a harmony of collective strength: the miniature is a triptych, titled Harmony 2022, in which three ‘I’s are carved from Kahurangi pounamu, pure 24 ct. river-gold and Tākaka marble and the virtual work is a three-metre high ‘digital totem’ titled Native Tongue XR 2018-2022." – Contemporary HUM Live from the 2022 Biennale 


Venetian Waterfront

Native Tongue XR in Venice

April-Nov. 2022.  On Riva Sette dei Matiri, beneath the leaning maritime pines in Marinessa Levante garden, Native Tongue XR is located in the district of Castello between the primary venues of La Biennale di Venezia. The digital monument fronts the Venetian lagoon, bridging past and present in a historic place of transit and a safe harbour in times of war. Personal to each viewer – created through their mobile phone or tablet – and empowered by the metaverse, the I-figure is a free spirit, transcending borders, materiality and time.


La Biennale Opens!

20-22 April. European Cultural Centre hosted 3 days of events in Venice celebrating the 2022 Biennale and the opening of the curated exhibiton ‘Personal Structures’ with Aotearoa artist Gill Gatfield's new project UNITY in two locations: Harmony at Palazzo Bembo and Native Tongue XR in Giardini Marinaressa. Among the international visitors were special guests from Aotearoa: NZ Ambassador Italy Anthony Simpson, Commissioner of NZ in Venice and Chair Toi Aotearoa Caren Rangi, Creative New Zealand Manager of International Projects Jude Chambers, Cook Islands delegates, arts patrons and supporters of Aotearoa NZ art!


Venice Biennale

UNITY Venice 2022

April - Nov. 2022.  A new project presented by European Cultural Centre during the 59th Venice Biennale, UNITY comprises two site specific installations on the Venetian waterfront - the precious miniature Harmony at Palazzo Bembo facing the Grand Canal and the virtual monument Native Tongue XR in Giardini della Marinaressa on the main promenade. Uniquely personal and universal, these structures speak through their symbolic I-forms and ancient stones and gold from Aotearoa NZ, imagining ancestral spirits and alternative states of being, sparking conversations and ideas. Across the waters of Venice, the figures project miniature and otherworldly Island-forms (I.), bridging continents and epochs in the floating city and biosphere.


Review - Alter Ego

Berlin Solo Exhibition in Contemporary HUM

May 2022. “On the occasion of Gill Gatfield’s first solo exhibition in Berlin, Susanne Prinz, Director of Kunstverein am Rosa-Luxembourg-Platz in Berlin, Germany, reflects on the practice of the Aotearoa artist—from her use of ancient, salvaged materials to her work creating audience-activated virtual reality experiences, and the complex resonances of memory, reality and consciousness in her work. Prinz explores how Gatfield’s work speaks to a European audience across linguistic and cultural boundaries, and to this end, examines how the cultural imaginary, the space between the real and the spiritual, manifests in her work. Important to this is the multi-layered geological history of the materials she uses and the significance of place. …” – Contemporary HUM



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