August Sander Award 2020

The young Austrian artist Rebecca Unz is the winner of the prize

The young Austrian artist Rebecca Unz is the winner of the August Sander Award 2020.

What the international jury won for Rebecca Unz’s photographs is the precise visual execution of the individual shots, for which the artist chose the classic portrait form of a bust. You can see friends from the area of Hip Hop and Rap, music styles and related life concepts, with which Rebecca Unz has been active for several years and where she feels she belongs.

The jury members Dr. Anja Bartenbach (founder family), Gabriele Conrath-Scholl (Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur), Rineke Dijksta (artist, Amsterdam), Prof. Dr. Ursula Frohne (University of Münster) and Dr. Jeff Rosenheim (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York) decided on Rebecca Unz and her series „Sensibelchen“ after intensive discussions and after the pre-selection in the form of a shortlist of ten candidates. The decision of the jury is intended to support a young, versatile artist who is just beginning her career. Not only photography is one of Rebecca Unz’s means of expression, painting and drawing are also part of it. Rebecca Unz is a student at the HTBLVA Ortweinschule in Graz and has just finished her diploma thesis.

From February 2018 to December 2019, Rebecca Unz worked on the series „Sensibelchen“, which the submitted portraits are part of. The portraits are characterized in particular by a well-thought-out lighting, which seems to model the faces of the young men and women against mostly neutral, only vague backgrounds. The series of images follows a scale from a warm to a cold tone and thus refers to a spectrum of different sensitivities and encounters. The focus is on the individual, their gaze and the respective facial expression. Individual features such as hairstyles, jewelry or headgear, which reveal something about the tastes of the wearer, are also included in the picture. In the portraits one encounters young people of the same generation and a common preference for a style of music, and yet everyone appears very individual in attitude and expression. Rebecca Unz is keen to „consciously reject the cliched facades of people who are active in Hip Hop / Rap culture and to dedicate to the individual itself and his or her sensitivity,“ thus her own words about the series.

The August Sander Award was awarded for the first time in 2018 by Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur, donated by Ulla Bartenbach and Prof. Dr. Kurt Bartenbach. The call combines the idea of promoting young contemporary artistic approaches to documentary-conceptual photography, with a special focus on the human portrait. The response to the second call for proposals was gratifyingly large, more than 100 submissions from home and abroad were received.

Due to the current situation related to Covid-19 (Corona), an exact date of the award ceremony cannot be announced. An event is planned as part of the next exhibition project of Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur.

You can download the press photos via the link

With its collection, the scholarly maintenance of its holdings, its research projects, and its exhibitions, all of which center around objective, documentary photography, Die Photographische Sammlung / SK Stiftung Kultur contributes to a wide range of regional, national, and international artistic and cultural offerings.The institution“s collection comprises more than 30,000 works by historical and contemporary photographers of various nationalities. A significant share of these-more than 10,500 negatives and 5,500 original prints-is part of the August Sander Archive, followed by negatives and prints from important series by the artist couple Bernd and Hilla Becher. These two photographic stances, are since 1992 and 1996, in terms of style and content decisive for the further development of the collection.
There are two to three exhibitions a year, most of them accomponied by publications compiled at Die Photographische Sammlung / SK Stiftung Kultur. Presentations are organized that are assembled from the institution“s own collection as well as displays of works that enter into a dialogue with it. The exchange with regional, national, and international institutions plays an important role, as evidenced by numerous collaborative exhibition projects and a lively circulation of loans.

Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur
Gabriele Conrath-Scholl
Im Mediapark 7
50670 Köln
Phone: +4922188895300

SK Stiftung Kultur der Sparkasse KölnBonn
Ralf Convents
Im Mediapark 7
50670 Köln
Phone: +4922188895105

Bildquelle: © Rebecca Unz