The University of Applied Arts Vienna and the City of Vienna are awarding the Vanessa Preger-McGillivray-Prize for a thesis project from the Institute of Fine Arts. The prize is named after the student who was murdered during the terror attack in Vienna’s first district on November 2, 2020. Vanessa Preger-McGillivray started her studies in fine art at the Angewandte in autumn 2020. The prize should remind us of its eponym, celebrate the potentials of studies in art, provide a positive impulse, and reflect the hopes and perspectives of students for a life with artistic fulfilment.
Endowed with 3000 EUR, the prize will be awarded at the end of each winter semester. Upon a proposal by the diploma jury of the Institute of Fine Arts, the rectorate of the Angewandte and a representative from the Department of Cultural Affairs of the City of Vienna select a prize-winner on the basis of the submitted artistic thesis works. The awarding of the prize bestowed by the University of Applied Arts Vienna and the City of Vienna is initially secured for a period of four years.
Elisabeth Katharina Gritsch
„Rücken Richtung Wand“
Painting department, room 606
Photo: Jorit Aust
The Vanessa Preger-McGillivray Prize 2023 of the University of Applied Arts Vienna and the City of Vienna goes to Elisabeth Katharina Gritsch. With her work Rücken Richtung Wand, Gritsch made a lasting impression and convinced the jury. The diploma work is characterized by a sensitively painted reflection that is marked by a concentrated urgency. The paintings represent performative constellations of psychosocial spaces that permanently oscillate between stasis and the possibility of departure.
„Circle as Space“
Exhibition space Paulusplatz
Photo: Jorit Aust
The second prize winner and graduate from the department of Site-Specific Art Sara Ghalandari impressed the jury with her work titled "Circle as Space".
Her thesis explores the relationship between the human figure and space, both on a symbolic and concrete level. The expansive installation is a hybrid between textile and sculpture, made of fabric-covered wire, following the materiality and construction of the hoop skirt. The relationship between body and space, of human form and geometric form as an ideal for harmonious proportions, is hinted at, but the formal and material reduction eludes any idealization or unambiguous reading. The work emphasizes the individuality of the bodies in relationship to each other and to the community. On the other hand stands the circle as a spiritual, mystical form - across all cultures and times - as a symbol of unity and protection and as a space for ritual actions. Ghalandari subtly interweaves all these contexts and levels of meaning of the circular motif and its materialization into one multi-layered installation that combines sculptural body, space and architecture.
„It’s an early winter evening and even though it’s not particularly late, the time has lent the sky an almost prematurely darkened cast“
Seminar room Paulusplatz
Photo: Maria Cozma
Maria Cozma convinced the jury with her work titled „It’s an early winter evening and even though it’s not particularly late, the time has lent the sky an almost prematurely darkened cast.“ “The thesis project by Maria Cozma has achieved a precise and poetic frugality, which is centred on absence, and thereby questions how we act and speak,” the diploma jury explains their decision. The jury was headed by Henning Bohl and included the teachers Judith Eisler, Gabriele Rothemann, Paul Petritsch, Hans Schabus, and Jan Svenungsson.