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

Review of Solo Exhibition Berlin

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 an audience-activated virtual reality experience, and the complex resonances of memory, reality and consciousness in her work.” – Contemporary HUM


Digital Art Archive

Native Tongue XR in Aurora ARchive

May 2022. The digital sculpture Native Tongue XR has been selected by the new EU-funded open-science research database founded by the AURORA School for ARtists at University of Applied Sciences Berlin. The Aurora ARchive documents unique augmented reality (AR) art and culture projects to enable artists, scientists and researchers to track international AR developments. Native Tongue XR is No. 105 in the archive, joining global projects such as the recent AR Biennale 2022 in Düsseldorf, Essen and Cologne, and the National Gallery of Singapore 2022 AR exhibition curated by Daniel Birbaum with work by KAWS and Olafur Eliasson. Native Tongue XR has been presented by CODAworx at A18 'Blueprint for Better Cities' New York; Sculpture by the Sea 2021 Perth Australia; Kunstverein am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz Berlin; and currently by European Cultural Centre in 'Personal Structures' Venice Art Biennale 2022. 


Video - Alter Ego

Insights into Alter Ego

“A visual narrative, the 'Alter Ego' video explores the ideas and forms of Aotearoa artist Gill Gatfield’s shape-shifting solo exhibition in Berlin, illuminating a practice that creates unexpected sculptural volumes, bends matter and reasoning about atavistic shapes, and creating philosophical, sociological and interactional pathways at the intersection of digital, physical and sensory realms.” – Curator Chiara Valci Mazzara


Art Tours Berlin

March 2022.  Art Tours Berlin highlights Native Tongue XR in its curated public programme: IS THE FUTURE OF ART DIGITAL? NFTs, Data, the Metaverse, and More. The tour 'visits exhibitions that explore digital art's potential to change the art industry forever':

"... we look at augmented reality in art through the work of distinguished sculptor Gill Gatfield at Kunstverein am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz. Here we will discuss the work with curator Chiara Valci Mazzara. The monumental sculpture on the green outside the gallery appears out of thin air, summoned by a QR code. The physical sculpture is in New Zealand and carved from the heartwood of a giant tree buried over 50,000 years ago, illustrating the power of technology to transport objects."


Curator Essay

Alter Ego - Kunstverein am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz

Feb 2022. Curator Chiara Valci Mazarra writes about the exhibition Alter Ego: "On the occasion of her first solo presentation in Berlin, Alter Ego, Aotearoa New Zealand born artist Gill Gatfield conceived a project in two chapters – a large scale crystal-glass sculpture and a public space virtual reality installation – which talk and expand towards the human being. Renowned for her minimal, conceptual and abstract sculptures, and for her inclusive public monuments, Gatfield’s project relates to the public, the architecture, structures and infrastructures of the city, the area of Berlin Mitte and the L40 building, an iconic black maze designed by Cosima von Bonin and Roger Bundschuh, home of the Kunstverein am Rosa Luxemburg Platz.

Inside the foyer of the L40, The Muses vibrate, float and emerge from the space and reverberate meanings. The installation centers the eye on three monumental glass figures, shining outward from halos of soft white shaded edges, lightly held to the ground by an over one-hundred year old pine timber beam. They are shaped as ‘I’, as pure ancestral forms, as deeply rooted and recognised syntagms, as totemic figures.  ..." 


Extended Reality

Alter Ego - Berlin Chapter II

Jan 2022. The virtual twin of the ancient kauri sculpture Native Tongue from Aotearoa NZ, is inaugurated in a city park in Berlin-Mitte in Chapter II of the solo show Alter Ego presented by Kunstverein am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz. The 3mH vitual sculpture manifests through the Metaverse, an urban intervention bringing spiritual and natural worlds into the city. Native Tongue XR is sited in the public green between the Kunstverein’s L40 gallery and the Volksbühne (the People’s Theatre) from 14 Jan. to 10 April, curated by Susanne Prinz, Head Curator and Director, Kunstverein and international curator Chiara Valci-Mazzara.



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