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12 Star Gallery - Exhibitions in 2015
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The 12 Star Gallery is located at Europe House, 32 Smith Square, London SW1P 3EU and shows work which celebrates the creativity and cultural diversity that is the hallmark of the European Union. The gallery is open from 10am-6pm, Monday to Friday.



The Latvian Academy of Art presents 10 artists who graduated in 2013/14

21 - 30 January 2015

This exhibition reflects new trends in the development of Latvian art and its search for the truth in contemporary life. New ways of thinking about art are reflected in a turning away from traditional techniques, a reconsideration of classical forms which are then interpreted in a contemporary light. The exhibition invites the viewer to examine the works in all their diversity – from the purely visual human form to landscape and urban scenes to abstract expressions of colour. Alongside the graduates will be works by the principal of the Academy Aleksejs Naumovs and other professors.  

Marks the Latvian Presidency of the EU.


Golden Ratio

Golden Ratio

Works by Tomaž Izidor Perko

4 - 13 February 2015

Exhibition of 10 portraits of prominent figures in Slovene history as a tribute to the key builders of Slovene European identity, who have gained international fame already in their times and have brought Slovenian culture to the attention of the world.

Tomaž Izidor Perko is a Slovenian artist born on 2 November 1947 in Ljubljana. After graduating at the Academy of Fine Arts in Ljubljana in 1971, he continued his education in restoration and conservation.

Since then he has exhibited widely at home and around the world and has won several awards for his work.

The exhibition is organized by the Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia in London on the occasion of the Slovenian Cultural Day.


Irish landscapes

Irish landscapes

By Luke Dillon-Mahon

18 – 27 February 2015

The aim of the exhibition, organised by The British Fund for the National Gallery of Ireland, and sponsored by The Sir Denis Mahon Charitable Trust, is to display the work of a fascinating contemporary Irish artist:  the painter Luke Dillon-Mahon (1917-1997) and to promote Ireland and its landscapes.

Luke Dillon-Mahon was born Luke Mahon in 1917, into a family where the love and practice of art was fostered and encouraged. His maternal grandmother Augusta Crofton, later Lady Clonbrock, was an important Irish pioneer photographer, whose vast collection of prints and glass negatives, now in the National Gallery of Ireland, forms a unique pictorial record of Irish rural and country house life in the second half of the 19th century.

His cousin was the great collector and scholar Sir Denis Mahon, CH (1910-2011). Born in London to Irish parents, Sir Denis was one of the most eminent art historians and collectors of the 20th Century. On his death in 2011 he bequeathed what is widely regarded as one of the most important collections of Baroque Old Master Paintings ever assembled to various public museums in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Italy.

Luke Dillon-Mahon's pictorial output displays an intense symbolism: the sky and the silver clouds; Ireland and its wild nature, which dominates and fascinates artists just as much today as it has over the centuries, in a continuous dialogue that contrasts the infinity of open space with the finite evolution of humankind.

A further small section focuses on the way Irish artists of the past drew inspiration from their travels abroad, notably during the Grand Tour. One such traveller was Sir George Frederick Hodson 3rd Bt., (1806-1888) whose landscapes are found in important private and public collections in the US, England and in Ireland, including the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin.

Sanat International

Sanat International

4 - 13 March 2015

An exhibition, curated by Carsten Recksik, presenting a selection of young Turkish artists to promote Turkey’s creative potential in contemporary art and its connection to the European Union. Participating artists include Yeşim Akdeniz, Ayzit Bostan, Nezaket Ekici, İnci Furni, Şener Özmen, Erkan Özgen & Sinan Logie.

Image: Nezaket Ekici, Tube Dolomit, 2009, C-Type lambda print (Courtesy of Pi Artworks Gallery Istanbul/ London)

Supported by the Turkish Embassy in the UK

Slade School of Fine Art Student Exhibition

Slade School of Fine Art Student Exhibition

18 March - 10 April 2015

Dana Ariel: Placed Object, photo etch, paper size 50x50cm, 2014

Window on the West

Window on the West

Zahari Zograph, the Samokov painters and western art in the Bulgarian National Revival 1800-1850

15 April – 8 May 2015

The exhibition explains the spearheading achievement of Zahari, the pre-eminent Bulgarian painter from Samokov whose archive of prints and drawings reflects an active interest in western art which differentiates him as an icon-painter of the Bulgarian National Revival. 

Through a display of drawings and prints, most of which were produced in Western Europe, the exhibition illustrates Zahari’s assimilation of western art.  Individual exhibits demonstrate his adoption of technical skills for modelling form and colour to innovate religious imagery of the Orthodox Church.  Other drawings show Zahari’s interest in developing typically western forms of non-religious art in Bulgaria, leading to pioneering oil-painted portraits and landscape scenes.

Zahari’s renown in Bulgaria as the foremost painter of the Bulgarian National Revival is viewed in the context of his family’s contribution to the cultural regeneration in Bulgaria during the nineteenth century as the nation negotiated independent status in Europe.

The exhibition presents the work of Zahari and the Samokov painters abroad for the first time and the 12 Star Gallery of Europe House in Westminster appropriately introduces the cross-cultural achievements of the Bulgarian painters internationally. 

The exhibition brings to London the core of the bicentennial exhibitions commemorating Zahari’s birth inaugurated at the National-Art Gallery in Sofia in 2010 and displays a selection of model prints and working drawings from the largest painters’ archive in the Balkans together with exemplary icons.




Portraits by Thomas Ganter

13 - 22 May 2015

The German artist Thomas Ganter, winner of the BP National Portrait Awards 2014, presents his series of portraits “Unknowns”. He shows people of different origins and ways of life who have become his models more or less by chance. Ganter detaches his subjects from their original context to enable an unbiased view of them.

Organised by the Embassy of Germany in the UK


Homage to Edward Lear

Homage to Edward Lear

Paintings by Bashkim Izano

28 May - 19 June 2015

Bashkim Izano has dedicated his first exhibition in England to the English painter Edward Lear. Edward Lear's paintings of Albania embody observations of a beautiful and unknown land. They offer a unique and romantic insight into the Albania of middle 19th century, a wild yet captivating corner of Europe. Lear's paintings and drawings influenced the Albanian romantic art of the time and have as such been interesting and inspiring to the artist. Izano chose for the occasion a collection of works that are observations of Albanian folklore and nature. Izano's imagery is representational in nature but imbued with romantic sensibility.

Bashkim Izano Ahmeti was born in Albania. After completing his studies at the Artistic Lyceum and later at the Academy of Arts in Tirana he worked as a set designer at the city theatre of Gjirokastra and was involved in shows at the Theatre of Opera and the National Theatre in Tirana. Along with set design he directed a group of artists in the interior design of several national museums where he also created historical murals in the media of fresco. During this time he opened several personal exhibits as well as participated in national and international exhibits and biennales. From 1998 he was a professor of painting at the Academy of Arts in Tirana until 1995. In 1995 he moved to the US where he currently lives as a freelance artist in Summit NJ. He exhibits in New York, New Jersey as well as his native country Albania.

This exhibition is organized by the Embassy of the Republic of Albania in United Kingdom and Ireland


1615: Power, politics and performance at the heart of Europe

15 July – 11 September 2015


For centuries Brussels has been a crucial centre point for political, cultural and social struggle in Europe. 1615 epitomises Brussels’ political significance as home of the magnificent Court of Isabella Eugenia, daughter of Spanish King Felipe II, and her husband the Archduke Albert, Governor of the Habsburgs Netherlands. One of the most glittering courts of the time; it entertained the population of Brussels and supported many artists, musicians and painters including Rubens.

Isabella, by participating in the Ommeganck, a traditional procession which started in the Netherlands in the 13th Century and is still celebrated today, showed her willingness to bring together the people of the Netherlands. This popular event re-enforced links between secular, political and religious powers, at the time of the Counter-Reformation. To celebrate the 400th anniversary of this symbolic occasion of civic union and city wide performance, this audio-visual and theatrical display at Europe House will explore the narrative of the series of paintings by the artist Denys Van Alsloot, commissioned by the Court of Isabella.

Photo credits - Left: V&A; right: 2014

A Portrait of Europe

A Portrait of Europe

30 September - 9 October

In a unique yet simple venture the IMOS Foundation, a small arts charity in the South East of the UK, sent artists to paint the portraits of their EU compatriots.  An example of European fellow feeling in action, the result is a brilliant exhibition which tethers the notion of a greater Europe to its people. 

Seen together the portraits show us how comfortable Europe is in the early 21st Century. It is difficult to identify the different nationalities.  Yet the subject from each nation, beginning as an unknown, becomes a star –A Euro Star – by participating for their country in this international collaboration.

The exhibition, of the highest quality artistically, can also be seen as a kind of billet doux, a demonstration of openness, amity and warm curiosity from the British, who despite sometimes seeming reluctant to bond with their continental neighbours, share so much of their identity with their EU partners.
Briony Kapoor, Creative Director, IMOS Foundation.

Brits Abroad

Brits Abroad

Photographs by Charlie Clift

14 - 23 October 2015

Brits Abroad is a project aiming to take the debate on migration in Britain beyond the statistics and stereotypes usually seen in the mainstream media. Over 5 million British citizens live outside of the United Kingdom, with over 2,000 people moving abroad every week. British photographer Charlie Clift chose not to focus on immigrants into the UK but to look the other way and focus on British people who are living abroad. He photographed emigrants near the Mediterranean coast of Spain where there is a large British population. His portrait images show these migrants in locations key to their life in Spain. Most notable is the variety within the people shown: some cannot speak Spanish and have hardly integrated with the locals whilst others have married Spanish people and educated their children in local schools. It is nearly impossible to group them into a homogeneous stereotype. The photographer hopes that this project will encourage people to think twice about immigrants within their own communities as well as British people abroad.

You can find out more about the project here:

Previous Exhibitions

Wilderness in Paint

Wilderness in Paint

Works by Alex Gough

7 - 16 January 2015

Alex Gough studied at Chelsea College of Art, Camberwell College of Art and recently completed his MA at City and Guilds Art School. He has exhibited in London, Finland and the USA.

In this painting, ‘Erämaa’ 2014, Gough has used his characteristic ‘double-scrimmed’ canvas (although he actually works on a new material which allows certain properties to be amplified). As such, he is working on two surfaces, one over the top of the other. Initially in his practice the outer surface functioned as a veil– a nod to the ‘veil of experience’ of phenomenology– which served to alter significantly the work on the lower layer both in colour and drawing terms.

Here we can see a new development in his practice, where he has brought the paint both through the upper layer and painted on top, which creates a strange-latticed depth of field. Gough’s interest in photography and the materiality of its production is also evident here in the production of this image. The ‘veil’, with its obfuscating and reflective quality, acts in contrast to the vivid colour and fine detail of smooth glossy paint – giving the illusion of the slow emergence of this active surface through a fine haze or space.

Materiality, visuality, photography and the relation between painting and experience are the cornerstone of Alex Gough’s challenge in painting. His work traces a genealogy from artists such as Jules Olitski and Callum Innes. He works with a limited palette, determined to make his own paint so as to have control over the viscosity and intensity of experience. Working through the limits of the material and its handling is analogous for Gough to the ‘wilderness’ state, where no known foothold on meaning or known pathways can be found and must be worked out in the passage of the painting. The link visually through the limits of visual technology (the lens flare, the chemical burn of film/photopaper) ask interesting questions about how our visuality is informed.

An emphasis on openness, of not determining an outcome for the viewer, is key, and the viewer’s eye is not able to settle from one moment of experience to the next. There is a silence here, a determination to live in the paint that it is not possible to articulate in language. Like his experience in Finnish Lapland, Gough is embedded in a tacit knowledge of experience through practice that transmits aspects of that knowledge to the viewer in the language (and reflections on this language) of painting. By Andrew Hewish, Director of Center For Recent Drawing. 2014

Organised by the Embassy of Finland.




Sophie Sarin was the first artist to exhibit at the European Commission's offices, in December 2005, with her show 'Chaos to Order'. There has followed a series of exhibitions by artists from all over Europe (and beyond) working in media such as film, sculpture, photography and paint. See here for lists of previous exhibitions: 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

Last update: 23/01/2015  |Top