Luxembourg has been a regular participant at the International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia for the past 20 years, along with around 70 other countries. Since its launch in 1980, this event has been the main international meeting place for specialists in architecture, a discipline whose major contemporary trends it helps to showcase and define. As well as raising the profile of those involved, Luxembourg’s attendance allows it to contribute to international exchanges and debates on architecture, whose theoretical foundations and fields of application are constantly expanding.

In 2022, Luxembourg’s Ministry of Culture delegated curatorship of the Luxembourg Pavilion (architecture and art) to Kultur | lx – Arts Council Luxembourg, in collaboration with luca – Luxembourg Center for Architecture.

The winning team is made up of two curators, Francelle Cane and Marija Marić, surrounded by an Advisory Board and a team of contributors in the fields of scenography, content production and publishing.

About Down to Earth

From the development of human settlements on the Moon to the asteroid mining of rare mineral and metals—the wild imaginaries of extraction-driven growth have, quite literally, transcended the boundaries of the Earth. This displacement of resource exploitation from the exhausted Earth to its ‘invisible’ backstages—celestial bodies, planets, and ultimately, the Moon itself—calls for an urgent debate on the impact this shift will have on our understanding of land, resources and the commons.  critically unpacks the project of space mining through the perspective of resources. It starts from the following questions: How does tDown to Earthhis new iteration of the space race, wrapped in the false promises of endlessly available resources, depart from the existing extractivist logic of capitalism and its destructive environmental and social effects on the ground? How will the ongoing privatisation of space, characterised by a sharp turn towards private companies as main actors in the exploitation of space resources, affect the current status of extraterrestrial bodies as a form of ‘planetary commons’? What are the materialities of space mining—its logistics, technologies, infrastructures and workers—and their relationship to the existing geopolitical power hierarchies? And finally, how are architects to mediate critically the ramifications of these material fictions, rooted in the existing paradigms of growth?

Designed as mock-ups of the Moon’s landscapes, ‘lunar laboratories’ have emerged in recent years as a default feature that many institutions and private companies around the world use as infrastructure for testing different mining technologies. However, within the context of speculative economies of the space mining industry, the role of the lunar laboratories seems to go beyond being merely spaces meant for carrying out scientific experiments, instead appearing also as media studios for the production of imagery of human technologies on the Moon. The exhibition Down to Earth uses the lunar laboratory as a site for unpacking the tech industry’s space exploration narratives. With the space of the Pavilion itself turned into a lunar laboratory, a stage where the performance of extraction takes place, Down to Earth focuses on the unveiling of the backstages of the space mining project, offering another way of seeing the Moon that goes beyond the current optics of the Anthropocene.

The 18th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia will take place from May 20 to November 26. The Luxembourg Pavilion is located at Arsenale (Sale d’Armi, 1st floor).

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Continuing its series of Visual Arts “Repérages”, Kultur | lx hosted a series of meetings with Berlin professionals and actors in the visual arts field from 20 to 22 July 2022, on the fringes of the Berlin Biennale. The group started its journey with a visit to Lisa Kohl, a Luxembourg photographer and video artist in residence at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien since 1 July.

Following a first Visual Arts Repérage hosted in Kassel in June, Kultur | lx focused its “Mobility, Research and Career Development” support scheme on the city of Berlin, offering support to artists who wished to explore this art scene or deepen existing relationships. During three days, artists and curators from Luxembourg were invited to meet with directors of residencies, gallery owners and curators present in Berlin. Six artists were able to benefit from this specific programme.

Residencies with variable sizes

The first meeting took place at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien with Christoph Tannert, director, and Valeria Schulte-Fischedick, curator and coordinator of the international residency programme. The Künstlerhaus Bethanien GmbH, Germany’s top artist residency (founded in 1974), has been located in a former Lichtfabrik near the Kottbussertor underground station in the heart of Kreuzberg since 2009. Since it was founded in the former Bethanien hospital, it has welcomed more than 950 artists in some thirty studios.

Lisa Kohl, winner of the residency programme at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien initiated by the Focuna and taken over by Kultur | lx in 2022, opened her studio to us where she was still getting her bearings. This 6-month programme will enable her to develop her project Shutdown dreams | Angels in fall, to show her work in a group exhibition which will be launched in mid-September, to participate in studio visits or open days, and to benefit from a critical article in Be Magazin, a newspaper which publishes critical essays on the work of the residents, commissioned by the Künstlerhaus Bethanien.

The group then had the opportunity to meet Isabelle Parkes, coordinator of the Callies International Residency Programme, a venue that opened in the Wedding district in 2020, initiated by an American artist living in Berlin. This second venue welcomes artists from all walks of life, with practices ranging from writing and performance to dance and music. Callies is open to unsolicited applications all year-round and offers great flexibility to aspiring residents.

Germany-Luxembourg hops

One of the highlights for our 6 participants was the meeting with Lidiya Anastasova, curator at the Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (NBK) and director of the NBK’s art library collection, a collection that can be borrowed by anyone, consisting of 4,000 original works, including Marina Abramović, Victor Vasarely or Thomas Schütte, which allows Berlin-based artists to benefit from regular commissions, notably in the context of screen printing editions. Lidiya had participated in the studio visits of the Visual Arts Focus in May 2022 and met a large number of Luxembourg cultural actors.

The six artists also visited their compatriots who had a current exhibition in Berlin. On 20 July, Catherine Lorent gave a talk at the Kunstverein Tiergarten Berlin on the issue of gender in art in the context of her exhibition Relegation ~ via. Voice:over II. On 22 July, Eric Mangen launched a duo exhibition with the Ukrainian artist Artjom Chepovetskyy at the Jarmuschek + Partner gallery.

Finally, the Berlin Biennale, orchestrated this year by the artist Kader Attia (FR), provides the backdrop to these meetings. The 12th biennial takes place in contemporary art institutions and museums but also in informal places. Its title, Still present! invited us to consider individual and societal traumas from the perspective of Mending – that of objects and individuals, but also that of time and history. The exhibitions visited formed a coherent and rich whole, perfectly reflecting the commitment of the artistic team involved in the project. After the documenta, a completely different way of placing art directly linked to societal commitments, which was a source of inspiration and provides food for thought to the group.

The next Visual Arts Repérage will take place during the professional days of the Lyon Biennale on 12 and 13 September.

Révélations – Biennale Internationale des Métiers d’Arts, celebrated from June 9 to 12 at the Grand Palais Ephémère in Paris the French and international craft creation.

Conceived and created by Ateliers d’Art de France, a professional organisation representing the 281 French fine crafts, the biennial is the major economic event of the sector. The stage for countless meetings, Révélations brings together the creation market’s professionals and fine crafts aficionados around unprecedented works and exceptional expertise.

During 4 days, Révélations, the international biennial of art and creation crafts, gathered in the center of Paris more than 300 exhibitors: creators, art craftsmen, factories, galleries, designers, foundations, schools… coming from the all over the world to unveil unique and audacious pieces, with contemporary lines, specially created for the occasion. This exhibition is the opportunity for De Mains de Maîtres Luxembourg to fulfill one of its main missions: to promote Luxembourg’s craftsmanship internationally by presenting several artists with different disciplines.

From stone carving to clay sculpture, Revelations brings visibility to talented Luxembourgish artists and is one of the most important events in the sector.

De Mains De Maîtres Luxembourg proposes, this year, Nature against nature. This exhibition questions the influence of new technologies on ancestral gestures and know-how. On the banquet, Karolina Pernar, Christiane Modert and Marc Hubert present respectively wood sculptures, ceramics and carved stones, in dialogue with some new experiments (3D sculpture, transformed plastics, artifacts…) shown on the associated stand, like a real cabinet of curiosities.

Exhibited artists :
Erny Heuertz-Piret, Textile sculptures
Pit Molling, 3D Sculpture
Martin Dieterle, Plastic sculptures
Michel Metzler, Metal sculptures
Alejandra Solar, Stone jewelry
Birgit Thalau, Plaster jewelry
Flavia Carbonetti, Fashion designer

De Mains de Maîtres is supported by Kultur | lx – Arts Council Luxembourg.

Tina Gillen will rep­re­sent the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg at the 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia with Faraway So Close. The exhi­bi­tion, for which the artist is pro­duc­ing a new series of large-scale works, will take the form of an expan­sive painter­ly instal­la­tion in the Luxembourg Pavilion, locat­ed with­in the his­toric premis­es of the Sale d’Armi in Venice’s Arsenale. In Faraway So Close, Gillen directs her atten­tion to the con­nec­tions between the inte­ri­or space and the out­side world.

Concerned pri­mar­i­ly with the medi­um of paint­ing, the work of Tina Gillen exam­ines how we relate to the world around us, name­ly through the themes of land­scape and dwelling. Her paint­ings often orig­i­nate in pho­to­graph­ic images that she mod­i­fies, sim­pli­fies, pic­to­ri­al­ly ​trans­lates’, and pairs with oth­er ele­ments to arrive at com­po­si­tions that pur­pose­ful­ly nur­ture a cer­tain ambi­gu­i­ty, some­where between abstrac­tion and fig­u­ra­tion, con­struc­tion and impro­vi­sa­tion, the sur­face of the can­vas and the trans­la­tion of a space.

Faraway So Close is an ambi­tious paint­ing instal­la­tion made espe­cial­ly for the Luxembourg Pavilion. Conceived in response to the his­to­ry of the space as a mil­i­tary stor­age, it brings togeth­er large-scale paint­ings in a sceno­graph­ic treat­ment inspired by paint­ed film back­drops, ​as if the paint­ings were only there tem­porar­i­ly, wait­ing to be moved again, rearranged.’

The exhi­bi­tion is an exten­sion of Gillen’s recent pic­to­r­i­al research on the rep­re­sen­ta­tion of nat­ur­al phe­nom­e­na that elude our con­trol such as mete­o­ro­log­i­cal events, ris­ing sea lev­els and vol­canic activ­i­ty. Collectively, the paint­ings evoke the four ele­ments that were his­tor­i­cal­ly asso­ci­at­ed with the con­sti­tu­tion of the uni­verse – earth, water, fire and air –, as well as the ​uncer­tain land­scapes’ (Marielle Macé) marked by cli­mate and envi­ron­men­tal changes brought by human activities.

At the heart of the instal­la­tion is a sculp­tur­al com­po­nent titled Rifugio (2022), whose shape was inspired by a sea­side bun­ga­low the artist dis­cov­ered on the Côte d’Opale in north­ern France and paint­ed in a pre­vi­ous work on paper. When trans­posed to the exhi­bi­tion space and placed in rela­tion with the paint­ings, this form becomes a pol­y­semic space to the artist, act­ing both as a place for with­draw­al and a gate­way into the world, as a shel­ter and as a space beset by an abun­dance of infor­ma­tion. Faraway So Close speaks to the com­plex­i­ty of the rela­tion­ships that exist between inte­ri­or spaces and the out­side world, between prox­im­i­ty and distance.

From 23.04 to 27.11.2022
Arsenale, Sale d’Armi, Venice (Italy)

Commissioner: ministry of Culture, Luxembourg
Organiser: Mudam Luxembourg – Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean
With the support of: Let’s make it happen &  Kultur | lx – Arts Council Luxembourg
Curator: Christophe Gallois, assisted by Ilaria Fagone
Exhibition Design: Tina Gillen in collaboration with Polaris Architects

On the occasion of the 2021 Venice Biennale, the LUCA Luxembourg Center for Architecture invited architect Sara Noel Costa De Araujo to explore the concept of modular living. Studio SNDCA responded by overlapping the curatorial approach with the actual design of modular, mobile housing units to be set in clusters on the many vacant plots of building land in Luxembourg. This speculative project can thus be read as an engaged attempt to match the international exhibition with domestic concerns about the housing crisis.

Set up for the second time at the Arsenale’s Sale d’Armi, the Luxembourg Pavilion hosts until 21 November 2021 the exhibition entitled “Homes for Luxembourg” as well as a residency program and series of events organised in Luxembourg and Venice.

All information : Homes for Luxembourg – Luxembourg Pavilion (