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2015 Salzburg International Summer Academy of Fine Arts – résumé

26.08.2015

Press information

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28 August 2015, 12 midday – 9 p.m.
Open Day – final presentation
During these final days, all the classes of the International Summer Academy of Fine Arts are preparing their final presentations, to be shown on Friday in Hohensalzburg Fortress and the Kiefer quarry in Fürstenbrunn.
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The production of meaning in global contexts
This year, the 63rd International Summer Academy focused on the topic of The production of meaning. As a rule, art is a way of reflecting on the world and the society in which we live. Thus we would say that artworks, in various ways, produce something that might be called meaning. What interests us in particular is the different interpretation of this proposition in diverse regions of the world – by our teachers, lecturers and students, who this year have come from 54 nations (2014: 46), including Egypt, Belarus, Brazil, China, Georgia, India, Iran, New Zealand, Nigeria, South Korea and Tanzania.

This year has seen 328 participants in 21 courses lasting between one and four weeks, located in Hohensalzburg Fortress, the former Baroque Museum, Galerie 5020 and the Kiefer quarry in Fürstenbrunn. Average attendance was 15.6 students per course, similar to that in previous years; the average age was again 35, with 64% of participants being under 35.  
There was a slight increase in the number of grants, thanks mainly to the exceptionally generous support of private members of the Society of Friends. Further sponsors include the American Austrian Foundation (AAF/Seebacher Prize for Fine Arts), Free State of Bavaria, ERSTE Foundation, Münster Academy of Art, Society of Friends of the Leipzig Academy of Visual Arts, and Kingston University, London.
There were 45 public events, attended by approx. 3,900 visitors.


Highlights of the course programme

In his one-week workshop Comics und Performance, Ben Katchor demonstrated that even within such a short time, his students were able to produce and perform three outstanding picture-stories before an audience. Bernhard Martin broke up the working habits of his students by taking them to the Eisriesenwelt [ice caves] and the Walserberg motorway service area to paint. He encouraged them to exchange their pictures during the working process, in order to produce joint projects. The final presentation included an installation on the cannonballs opposite the Summer Academy entrance.

Site-specificity
The students in the Public Space course directed by the architect group feld72 made a study of the town's tourist appeal, making temporary interventions in the public space. These included a duplicate of the fountain on the Kajetanerplatz, a shadow play (TAKEAWAY) on the bastion wall of the Fortress, a word installation (SAFE) made of neon tubes in the Königsgässchen, and unobtrusive writing in various places in the town, telling something about individual residents and their association with the specific place. Tobias Zielony's course was entitled Migration; the students portrayed people in Salzburg who had come here for a variety of reasons. They included a carer in a retirement home, a taxi-driver, a jeweller and a Syrian family who had applied for asylum. Nicolas Wild's students in Creating comics and graphic reportage also dealt with Salzburg, presenting at the end of the course the first edition of a new Salzburg newspaper, Salz & Paper – with reports on local politics, culture and lifestyle.

Technique
Some classes focused on working in techniques rarely taught at art academies. In Bernhard Cella's course, each participant made a dummy of an artist's book. Elisabeth Schmirl's students experimented with different printing techniques, and in the stone quarry on the Untersberg Peter Niedertscheider showed the possibilities of formulating contemporary artistic expression in the medium of stone sculpture. cinéma copains focused on the specifics of working with analogue film – from shooting and editing, through direct processing, to the development of students' own work.

2015 programme of events
Lectures and discussions

Under the motto The production of meaning, the invited speakers covered a wide range, from analysis of "useful art" and its impact on society (Florian Malzacher), to fundamental examination of the artwork in the field of tension between market and museum (Luis Camnitzer). Ekaterina Degot asked how curatorial montage in exhibitions can contribute to the production of meaning, and Tony Chakar dealt with the relations between ISIS and Christian minorities in the Levant, focusing particularly on the decline of the Eastern Christian Churches.

In addition, the directors (Sabine Breitwieser, Martin Hochleitner and Séamus Kealy) of the three major Salzburg art institutions were invited to discuss the production of meaning in Museum and Kunstverein with colleagues from Graz and Munich.

The Lunch Talks offered insights into the working methods of all the teachers.

Four Town Walks (with Ariadna Castorena, Jubril Olawunmi, Mohammad Ali Sadeghi and Mohammad Basel Safrahaji) demonstrated how apparently ordinary places in a town can assume special significance for someone coming from a different cultural background to live in Salzburg.
Rounding off the programme were exhibitions by teaching artists in the periscope project space, the Cathedral Museum and the Galerie Trapp, as well as six Open Days.

Documentation
Daily blog entries by anthropologist and media theorist Rafael Dernbach followed the question of how, in the various courses, art is presented and taught today. Unusual answers and additional questions can be read here: www.summeracademy.at/blog

Salzburg artist and film-maker Sina Moser documented the lecture series and three of the Lunch Talks. Some of the videos are already available here on YouTube.

Further information and photo material
Bärbel Hartje
presse@summeracademy.at, +43 (0) 662 842 113

Press photos are available for download here.

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