Luxembourg's artistic landscape has gone through a period of rapid changes in the past decades. As Luxembourg City was designated as the European capital of culture in 1995 and 2007, institutions dedicated to performing arts were established and the art scene became internationalised and emancipated. In 2022, a new cultural year in Esch-sur-Alzette in Esch-sur-Alzette, guarantees the creative future and the presence of contemporary art and artists in the news!
7 contemporary artists you should know
It is not an option to present all Luxembourgish artists in this article, which is why we have compiled a list of contemporary artists for you:
1. Marco Godinho, Luxembourgish artist of Portuguese origin, for whom thoughts and creating make one. His works - writing, drawing, installations or video - are a process. He represented Luxembourg at the Venice Contemporary Art Biennale with the exhibition Written by Water in 2019. The project brought together all the themes that this artist was interested in: time, geography, migration, identity and language. He gave the sea a voice by putting notebooks in it so it could 'write' in them, and then exhibited them as part of an installation alongside a video of the performance.
58th International Art Exhibition – The 2019 Venice Biennale // Luxembourg Pavilion / Arsenale, Sale d'Armi / 11th May – 24th November 2019
Marco Godinho, Written by Water / © Photo: Luke A. Walker
2. Su-Mei Tse, cosmopolitan artist from Europe and Asia who now works in Luxembourg and Berlin. She was awarded the Golden Lion of the Venice Biennale in 2003 for her exhibition in the Luxembourg Pavilion, Air conditioned. Since then, her career path has gone beyond national borders, with exhibitions all over the world (Asia, Europe, United States, etc.), showcasing her installations, videos and sculptures. Her artworks are filled with questions on time, memories, musicality and language. The fountain Many Spoken Words is one of her 'famous' works. It is part of the collection of the MUDAM Luxembourg - Musée d’art Grand-Duc Jean.
Su-Mei Tse, in collaboration with Jean-Lou Majerus, Many Spoken Words, 2009 / Collection Mudam Luxembourg / © Photo: Andrés Lejona
3. In the spring of 2020, the MUDAM Luxembourg also presented an exhibition of the Luxembourgish painter Jean-Marie Biwer. 'D'après nature' brought together works from the past 15 years. They represented his work on landscapes, nature and his everyday environment. This exhibition brought to light 40 years of his career and is the first large-scale monographic exhibition to be featured in a Luxembourg museum. The exhibition catalogue still gives you the opportunity to discover all the artist's paintings and his research through pictures of his sketchbooks, drawing books and studies.
Jean-Marie Biwer, 'Atelier', 2004-2005 (detail) / MUDAM Luxembourg Collection / © Photo: Rémi Villaggi
4. Sophie Jung lives and works in London and Basel. Her works present a dialogue between text, sculpture and performance. They move between form and feelings, pragmatisms and romanticism, peering into precision and magical enchantment. International exhibitions are planned in the United States, Switzerland and England. In 2013, Sophie Jung won the Edward Steichen Award. She also won the Swiss Art Award (2016 and 2019) and the Manor Kunstpreis (2018). She currently works as a freelance teacher and is a jury member of the Swiss Performance Award.
Sophie Jung, The Bigger Sleep – Manor Art Award / Kunstmuseum Basel | Gegenwart, 2018 / © Photo: Gina Folly
Performance of Sophie Jung during the dinner of the 40th anniversary of the Matt’s Gallery, London, 2019 / © Photo: Dafydd Jones
Eric Mangen in his studio / © Photo: Morris Kemp
Eric Mangen, ByeBye Candy Mountain, 2019 (detail) / © Photo: Eric Mangen
5. The abstract artist Eric Mangen is based in Luxembourg. He was interested in graffiti in the late 1990s, which eventually led him to abstract painting, which is what he does today. After living in Barcelona for around six years, Eric Mangen returned to Luxembourg in 2013 and decided to work as a freelance artist in order to focus primarily on his artworks, including paintings and giant wall-painting projects. Thanks to his representation by way of his gallery based in Luxembourg (Valerius Art Gallery), several individual and collective exhibitions have taken place since 2017. His work makes giant strides, in particular as a result of major projects in the United States, Bosnia, Spain, France and Australia.
6. According to the site and context, the in situ artworks of Claudia Passeri take on social, political and environmental aspects. Claudia Passeri lives and works in Luxembourg and Perugia in Italy. She is a conceptual artist working with photography. She has exhibited her installations and images on a regular basis in Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg and the United States. In 2019, she represented Luxembourg at the photography festival 'Rencontres de la photographie' in Arles via the Luxembourg association Lët'z Arles which supports and promotes photography and artists related to Luxembourg. Her work, Zeitgeist - Karl Cobain is permanently installed in the café of the Luxembourg Casino.
Claudia Passeri, Zeitgeist – Karl Cobain, 2016 / © Photo: Patty Neu
7. Nora Wagner likes to play and experiment with everything that comes her way: objects, humans, situations, etc. The location and context are the key of her artistic practice. She creates out-of-the box varied installations and performances: she travelled Europe as part of atelier Nomad (2015) and organised a walk in the woods culminating in a guerrilla exhibition (The Walk, 2016). She was also the co-founder of DKollektiv, the objective of which is to offer events and artistic and cultural projects at the Atelier D of Fondouq Hall in Dudelange. Her aim is therefore to make culture and art an integral part of everyday life. Nora Wagner won the 2019 Edward Steichen Award, more specifically the Edward Steichen Luxembourg Resident in New York Award, which includes a four-month residency at the ISCP - International Studio & Curatorial Program in New York.
Nora Wagner, Installation, video and performance / Burgfestspiele, Festung Ulm (Allemagne, 2018 / © Photo: Nora Wagner
Nora Wagner, Performance, Metmorph exhibition at the Cercle Cité Luxembourg, 2018 / © Photo: Nora Wagner