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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.

could you please rethink under-standing?

could you please rethink under-standing?

17 April – 8 May 2015

Departing from an observation that the work produced by Cypriot visual artists often resonates in a very particular way, this show is set to explore what we begin to think as Cypriot sensibility. Within a great variety of approaches and content, there is a sense of something purely visual and difficult to articulate: something that provokes a Cypriot-specific reception of images encompassing particular aesthetics, sensitivity, and emotional quality. 

What is it?

Helen Michael, Anastasia Mina, and George Petrou exhibit work from their current practices, created both individually and collaboratively for this show. Hopefully, could you please rethink under-standing will allow space for the artists and viewers to explore the possibility of existence of a Cypriot visual dialect. 

Picture credit:  Pocket full of sand, 60x100cm, Screenprint on paper, 2014, Anastasia Mina

Organised by the Cyprus High Commission



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


My Symphony of Colour

My Symphony of Colour

Paintings by Gust Graas

24 June – 17 July 2015

Gust Graas was born in Luxembourg in 1924. He studied Law in Louvain (Belgium) and completed his Law Doctorate in Paris in 1950. He returned to Luxembourg to start his career as a barrister but he was soon working for RTL Radio and Television. At the same time he started to devote more time to his passions: painting and  sculpture.

Since 1987 the artist has been dividing his time between his Luxembourg homeland and the Spanish Island of Mallorca, where he has his studio. He finds his inspiration from the shadows and atmosphere of the Spanish skies and the magical colours of the Mediterranean.

In his book “The Spanish Years” (published in German in 2003) the artist explains that he is looking for clarity, joy and light and his colours need to convey warmth, life and spirit.

“I paint a picture of a free and generously bright and joyful nature which is celebrating continuous movement. I float from the light to the sombre, between the constant and unsteady, from wild exuberance to quiet tenderness, between mild gusts of wind and a dangerous precipice. In my colours you can find beauty, happiness and strength.”

Over time, through his work and research he finally managed to find his own personal style in which he expresses himself in a unique way. For him each painting is a step towards self-discovery.

“Painting means that you need to observe the material from a different point of view and to give shape to the impressions they leave. Let yourself be drawn to express colours and shapes that bring harmony and symmetry and finally wellbeing.”

From the fifties onwards, Gust Graas has been exhibiting regularly in Luxembourg and Europe. Since   2007 he gained international recognition in China and Dubai.

“The day I get bored by my painting, I will quit. I shall be desolate, as painting is not a job but a way of life, a calling.”

Exhibition organised by the Embassy of Luxembourg


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

22 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

Czech Houses

Czech Houses

16 – 25 September 2015

Focused on family housing, the highlight of contemporary Czech architecture, the exhibition presents 33 exceptional designs by 33 architectural studios offering an insight into contemporary Czech architecture and urbanism. Showing a wide range of approaches to individual housing needs including large and small houses; new projects and renovations; houses in the countryside, in dense urban centres and in suburbia; made of concrete, wood, bricks or steel; in modern, abstract, or traditional styles distinctive, subtle or introverted, the exhibition demonstrates the continuous increase in the quality of Czech architecture since the fall of Communism in 1989, capturing the developments in architecture within the  context of significant political and social change.

Curators: Ondřej Beneš, Ján Stempel, Jan Jakub Tesař

Curators Ján Stempel, Jan Jakub Tesař a Ondřej Beneš specialise in individual housing both in their architectural and teaching practice at the Faculty of Architecture, Czech Technical University, Prague. Their latest book Czech Houses / České domy (Kant, 2014) was instrumental in creating the exhibition. 

Organised in collaboration with the Czech Centre London.

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

New Arrivals

New Arrivals

18 March - 8 April 2015

Dana Ariel, Felix Bahret, Sophie Bouvier Ausländer, Stefano Cozzi, Richard Magee, Jiachun Gao, Angelique Heidler, Goia Mujalli, Ferentinos Panagiotis, Neena Percy, Madeleine Pledge, Zsofia Schweger, Mircea Teleaga,

An exhibition of student work from the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL curated by Slade lecturers Kate Bright, Alastair Mackinven and Hayley Newman.

Works include: a trilingual makeshift replica of a Caryatid takes a break from her day job as an architectural support to display a can of Fillipo Berio extra virgin olive oil. Paintings transmit decaying representations of European femininity inspired by the ad campaign of a well-known Austrian lingerie company. An outsider in a small northern town walks to its edges and repositions found objects before taking photographs of her sculptural interventions. Landscapes express the inability of a painter to stop thinking about memory as cause and effect as he makes a journey into the past. Geometrically unfinished, a cubist/naive chunk of stonework originally used to crown buttresses on a medieval cathedral spire is strapped to a pillar. A digital flag saturated with images of enlarged slabs of lo-fi meat harvested from the Internet hangs out with other artworks. A home that is no longer a place for the family has been migrated into a single painting. Life continues in digital space after a volcano erupts in air space; people tell their side of the story. An abstractly rendered Portuguese man o’ war is recognised in translation; titled in a colonial language, shared by Europe and Latin America. Bold screen-prints covered in bright wiggly shapes wrap themselves around corners and pillars. An overlooked buffoon from a canonical painting is resurrected on canvas and lived with as if still alive, and the painter who painted him gets painted too. Made on holiday, the blanked-out map spares the veins of transit and erases all borders. A human-sized cardboard column, collaged and bound with ‘for sale’ posters and ‘fragile’ tape, is shipped from a country in economic crisis and finds a new home.

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

SANAT INTERNATIONAL | Contemporary Turkish Art

SANAT INTERNATIONAL | Contemporary Turkish Art

4 - 13 March 2015

Exhibition of works by Yeşim Akdeniz, Ayzit Bostan, Nezaket Ekici, Inci Furni, Sinan Logie, Ayşegül Turan, Şener Özmen & Erkan Özgen

Curated by Carsten Recksik

The relationship between Turkey and Europe is thriving, especially in the arts and culture. Over the past decade, an ever growing global art world has supported the transformation of the Turkish art scene. Big art events like biennials and art fairs have helped change perspectives by putting Turkey on the international art map. Exchange programmes, residencies and scholarships have further reinforced the rapport with the nations of the European Union. This exhibition contributes to the exchange by presenting exciting examples of Turkish talent in different media, artists who formed their own experiences during sojourns in countries like Belgium, France, Germany and the UK. Their biography and work reflects how deeply connected their country is to the rest of Europe on a cultural level.

Supported by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in Turkey, Öktem & Aykut Gallery Istanbul, Pi Artworks London/Istanbul & Pilot Gallery Istanbul 


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.

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.




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.


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: 14/04/2015  |Top