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A Room with a View

They’re off! The artists have moved into their Bank Austria Studios. In the coming months, you’ll learn more about their concrete work. But perhaps you’d also be interested to find out what the studios are in the first place and about the criteria that the jury used when making their selection.

Art needs space. It’s hard to paint large canvases in a cramped apartment. But it’s often about much more than simply having as much room as possible. It’s also important to have intellectual breadth, to have stimulating surroundings that offer creative input and enable you to share ideas. The Vienna artist Bianca Phos gets to the heart of this perfectly: “You can’t make large gestures in a tiny room.”

Bank Austria Studios – large and small gestures

Bank Austria wants to enable people to make both large and small gestures. “We admire young artists for having the courage to choose this path”, says Katja Erlach, Head of Cultural Sponsorships at Bank Austria: “We want to support them over the long term. Not just give them money but integrate them into a comprehensive programme that brings them a little further in their artistic career.”

Bank Austria Studios are such a project. Five studios are allocated, each for two years. The artists selected by an expert jury can work here rent-free. The large, bright spaces of the studios are ideal. But other key aspects of the programme include helping the artists to create domestic and international networks and offering them practice-related support. For example, Sarah Rinderer, one of the artists who have just moved into their studios, emphasises that it is this exchange that she is most looking forward to: to the conversations and, perhaps, even the cooperation that could result. Contemporary Matters also say that for them, as a collective, working together is a major concern in both theory and praxis.

Sarah Rinderer, Photo: Max Reinhold

Five Bank Austria Studios – one jury

An expert jury selected five projects from the numerous submissions. “The diversity of both the artistic positions and the backgrounds of the artists were very important to us”, says the design expert and designated Head of the MAK, Lilli Hollein, explaining the work of the jury. Feminism and queer positions continue to be formative issues, but so do the body and nature, says her jury colleague Hemma Schmutz, Artistic Director of the Museen der Stadt Linz. And Bettina Busse, Curator at the Kunstforum Wien, speaks of the great breadth of the submissions, from conceptual works to performance and film.

Bank Austria sees the studios as a way of supporting young artists as soon as they have completed their studies. Finding an affordable workspace is a challenge for many. Such backing enables them to get started and to take their first professional artistic steps more easily. “We understand this support as a long-term investment: The role of art is to foresee the future and then to help to shape it and this is also very important for our society”, says the cultural sponsorship expert Katja Erlach. In the Bank Austria Studios this future starts today.