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Installation view of "Faraway So Close,” Tina Gillen, 2022, Luxembourg Pavilion, Venice Biennale; © Tina Gillen, photo by Florian Kleinefenn, courtesy of the artist and Mudam Luxembourg – Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean.
Installation view of "Faraway So Close,” Tina Gillen, 2022, Luxembourg Pavilion, Venice Biennale; © Tina Gillen, photo by Florian Kleinefenn, courtesy of the artist and Mudam Luxembourg – Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean.
Installation view of "Faraway So Close,” Tina Gillen, 2022, Luxembourg Pavilion, Venice Biennale; © Tina Gillen, photo by Florian Kleinefenn, courtesy of the artist and Mudam Luxembourg – Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean.
Installation view of "Faraway So Close,” Tina Gillen, 2022, Luxembourg Pavilion, Venice Biennale; © Tina Gillen, photo by Florian Kleinefenn, courtesy of the artist and Mudam Luxembourg – Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean.
Installation view of "Faraway So Close,” Tina Gillen, 2022, Luxembourg Pavilion, Venice Biennale; © Tina Gillen, photo by Florian Kleinefenn, courtesy of the artist and Mudam Luxembourg – Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean.
Installation view of "Faraway So Close,” Tina Gillen, 2022, Luxembourg Pavilion, Venice Biennale; © Tina Gillen, photo by Florian Kleinefenn, courtesy of the artist and Mudam Luxembourg – Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean.
Installation view of "Faraway So Close,” Tina Gillen, 2022, Luxembourg Pavilion, Venice Biennale; © Tina Gillen, photo by Florian Kleinefenn, courtesy of the artist and Mudam Luxembourg – Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean.
Art

Faraway so Close: Tina Gillen Paints Refuge and Shelter at the Luxembourg Pavilion

By Selen Ozturk

April 25, 2022

Tina Gillen is representing Luxembourg at the 59th Venice Biennale with her solo exhibition, “Faraway So Close.” The exhibition, for which the artist has produced a new series of large-scale works, features an expansive installation curated by Christophe Gallois in the Luxembourg Pavilion, located in the Sale d’Armi in Venice’s Arsenale. Gillen conceived of the show as a response to the Sale, a building dating back to the fifteenth century and historically used as a military storage location. There, Gillen revisits traditional painterly themes like landscape and architecture to explore the relationships we entertain in interior space with the world outside and around us, integrating her paintings with what she deems the “loaded history and inherent constraints” of the Sale. Her work often begins with photographic imagery which she alters, simplifies, ‘translates’ and combines with other motifs into deliberately ambiguous compositions oscillating between abstraction and figuration, structure and improvisation, surface and space. 

In “Faraway So Close,” Gillen directs this theme toward natural phenomena beyond human control, like extreme weather, rising sea levels, and volcanic activity. Rather than building a temporary exhibition space, she highlights the structure of the Sale with eight large-scale canvas paintings gathered into a site-specific installation which resembles wooden painted film sets. In Gillen’s words they stand, “As if they were there only temporarily, waiting to be moved and rearranged again...like a set still under production.”

Open Gallery

Installation view of "Faraway So Close,” Tina Gillen, 2022, Luxembourg Pavilion, Venice Biennale; © Tina Gillen, photo by Florian Kleinefenn, courtesy of the artist and Mudam Luxembourg – Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean.

Open Gallery

Installation view of "Faraway So Close,” Tina Gillen, 2022, Luxembourg Pavilion, Venice Biennale; © Tina Gillen, photo by Florian Kleinefenn, courtesy of the artist and Mudam Luxembourg – Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean.

The paintings depict the four elements traditionally identified with the composition of the universe—earth, water, fire and air—while evoking their tangible effects upon climate change caused by human activity. At the center of the installation stands Rifugio (2022), a sculpture inspired by a small cottage on the Opal Coast in the North of France, also represented in a small painting on paper entitled Shelter (2018). Transposed to the Sale and related between the paintings, this form serves as a polysemic space, a place both to enter and to shelter from the world. She notes that the exhibition is “both a mental and concrete space,” a liminal refuge between proximity and distance.

Open Gallery

Installation view of "Faraway So Close,” Tina Gillen, 2022, Luxembourg Pavilion, Venice Biennale; © Tina Gillen, photo by Florian Kleinefenn, courtesy of the artist and Mudam Luxembourg – Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean.

Open Gallery

Installation view of "Faraway So Close,” Tina Gillen, 2022, Luxembourg Pavilion, Venice Biennale; © Tina Gillen, photo by Florian Kleinefenn, courtesy of the artist and Mudam Luxembourg – Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean.
Luxembourg PavilionTina GillenVenice

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