press release

In conformity with the tradition to ask an internationally active curator every other year to have an unbiased look at our program and its results, an annual exhibition will take place again in the Studio Building this year. After Harald Szeemann, Martin Prinzhorn, Kasper Kőnig and Martin Fritz, Barbara Vanderlinden, Zdenka Badovinac, Daniel Richter, Eva Maria Stadler, and, recently, Adam Budak, Sabine Breitwieser, freelance curator, was now invited to assess the current production of the students at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, make a selection, and present this selection according to its thematic and formal focal areas.

„Niemals!: darfst du so tief sinken, und die Bananenmilch/den Kakao – durch den man dich zieht – auch noch zu trinken!!!' ('You must never fall so low and drink the banana milk/the cocoa (= eat the mud) they are dragging you through.') – This is the title derived from an (altered) epigram by Erich Kästner that one of the students has chosen for her large-format collage. The picture is a reinterpretation of the monumental painting Il Quarto Stato (The Fourth Estate, 1898–1901) by Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo, whose depiction of a workers' revolt is regarded as one of the landmarks of a socially committed realistic art toward the end of the nineteenth century. Notions of an independent life determined by awakening and innovation rather than by submission and routine are still mainsprings for the decision to study at the Academy of Fine Arts, and particularly so as regards art. In recent years, these myths have been joined by prospects of a career as an international artist, possibly with celebrity status, or simply of a varied professional practice within a well connected upcoming creative class.

Which pictures of their future professional practice and its environs do the students identify themselves with? Which professional conditions do they strive for, and what do they contribute to their (re)organization during their years of study? How do the students' expectations and objectives manifest themselves in the subjects and tasks they choose? Do the students undertake their research and develop their works undisturbed by the public, or do they already consider the exhibition situation and the vis-à-vis of recipients in their works? Do they orient themselves toward what is to be seen in galleries and cultural institutions, toward achievements crowned with success?

This year's curator's project sheds light on the students' work against the background of the debate on the form and structure of their university education, the impact of their future or perhaps present working milieu, and today's working reality. The students were invited to develop their own contributions to the subject, which will enter into a dialogue with the works selected for the exhibition. Many have accepted the invitation. The exhibition shows works and projects by approximately 50 artists and collectives.

The exhibition is structured as an open display, which underscores the institutional and architectural context of the project, the Academy, and the Semperdepot Studio Building on the one hand and offers a comparatively direct approach to the individual contributions on the other. Performances and other events are scheduled to take place on the evening of the opening and during the exhibition. One of the projects, organized independently by two students, comprises thematically related activities outside the Academy, which are to be announced on a 'notice board' in the exhibition. In the context of a project of the art and communication program, thematic-spatial interventions in the exhibition itself have been developed in addition to the accompanying program of dialogical events.

'Es ist gut' (It's good, It's enough) is what you can read in the mirror of the ladies' toilet and the men's restroom near the multi-functional hall in the Academy's Semperdepot. The last or – seen differently – first work in the exhibition may likewise be understood as ambivalent.

PS: While this project was being finalized, representatives of the Austrian Students' Association (Österreichische Hochschülerschaft) and the senate of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna called a general strike beginning on 20 November 2009 and, for the time being, scheduled to last until 22 November 2009 and occupied the columned hall of the Schillerplatz building. Directed against the abolition of the diploma programs in favor of a bachelor, master, and PhD degrees system, the implementation of the so-called Bologna Declaration, the protest accompanies the negotiations of an agreement on future requirements between the Rector and the Ministry of Science. In no time, a webpage representing both the students' and the teaching staff's position ( has been launched. Text: Sabine Breitwieser

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Curator´s Project 2009 of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna
Which life? Between Calling and Career
Kurator: Sabine Breitwieser

Künstler: Nadja Athanassowa, Anatoliy Babiychuk, Anna Bürgermeisterova, Katharina Cibulka, Elena Cooke & Angelika Stadler, Marina Carmen Isabelle Dell'Mour, Nadine Droste & Sara Korshoj Christensen, David Eisl, Christian Friess & Maximilian Müller, Juli Fritz, Kathrin Maria Anna Füssl, Andreas Harrer, Muzaffer Hasaltay, Cornelia Hauer, Kathi Hofer, Eva Kadlec, Barbara Kapusta, Karl Kilian Nathalie Koger, Christoph Kolar, Susi Krautgartner, Lisa Lampl, Thomas Lehner, Nadine Lemke, Marissa Lobo, Rosmarie Lukasser, Susanne Miggitsch, Saskia Te Nicklin, Simona Obholzer, Marlies Pöschl, Michael Pötschko, Liesl Raff, Lisa Reiser & Claudia Dernbecher, Stefan Reiterer, Raphaela Riepl, Max Schaffer, Patrick Schmierer, Johann Schoiswohl, Eva Seiler & Liesl Raff, Lucia Elisa Stamati, Bernhard Staudinger & Mario Strk, Philipp Timischl, Julian Turner, Marianne Vlaschits, Ulrike Wagendorfer, Micha Wille, Dario Wokurka / Gruppe Kunst im öffentlichen Raum / Patrick Schabus ...