Grief-Work | Helen Kirwan at the European Cultural Centre, Venice 59th Biennale Arte 2022


Grief-Work | Helen Kirwan at the European Cultural Centre, Venice 59th Biennale Arte 2022 Date/Time
Date(s) - 23/04/2022 - 27/11/2022

Palazzo Bembo





Helen Kirwan unveils her new immersive three screen video Grief-Work (2022), at the European Cultural Centre, Venice in the Personal Structures exhibition curated by the Global Art Affairs Foundation in parallel with the 59th Biennale Arte 2022.

Kirwan’s quiet, meditative performances and multi-channel video installations are characterised by explorations of concepts of memory, loss and time; alsojourneyingas the poetic and metaphorical construction of memory. Grief-Work continues her meditation on these themes but on this occasion, she has specifically taken inspiration from the mourning traditions of ancient Greece and the Middle East: also instead of performing solo as she usually does in her videos, she has Included additional and diverse live elements such as nine actors, a choir and even an animal, a Cypriot donkey.

Kirwan’s installation will take up the entirety of a large room on the main floor of Palazzo Bembo, a restored 14th century palace on the Grand Canal. Upon entering this room, visitors will be immersed in the video’s large screens with a soundscape composed by Tom Lane. The building’s Venetian- Byzantine architecture, with influences from Moorish Spain and the Gothic style of mainland Italy, echoes the confluence that is present in Kirwan’s work.

Grief-Work shows the artist as a character on a metaphorical journey encountering performances by others of rituals inspired by the funerary scenes depicted on white-ground Lêkythoi vases. Popular grave gifts in Athens in the 5th century BCE, these are known for a delicate painting style depicting rituals such as dedicating gifts, pouring libations and decorating graves combined with emotional expressions of sadness and of mourners nourishing the deceased and their memory.

The artist will also present two live performances at Palazzo Bembo:-

Sunday 24th April from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.  First performance: Rending the cloth. 

Monday 25th April from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Second performance: Presenting the ribbons.

For images and press enquiries please contact:

More information about Kirwan’s work can be found at:

Instagram: @kirwan_helen
Facebook: @KirwanHelen
Twitter: @hahkirwan

Opening times: 10am – 6pm; Monday – Sunday;
CLOSED Tuesdays
Free Entry


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