Two History of Art Postgraduate students, Carley Winiesdorffer and Genevieve Fay, share a £300 prize, winning Best Dissertation for their outstanding work. 

Carley Winiesdorffer's dissertation entitled, Art in Production: The Use of Technicians in Contemporary Art-Making, examines the involvement of technicians in contemporary art production. 

“My interest in the role of art technicians stems from a 2014 exhibition, Ryan McGinness: Studio Visit, at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA)," says Carley. "The exhibition prominently featured a video of McGinness in his studio and the assistants working with him. From that point onwards, I approached art with more awareness of the different types of labour that can be involved in contemporary art production.

When I approached this topic for my dissertation, I made the conscious decision not to question the ethics of employing technicians or the idea of credit. Instead, my goal was to understand the current perception of the involvement of technicians in the art-making process and evaluate how closely that perception aligned with the reality of contemporary art production. Beyond the disconnect between the art world and the general public, I saw a disconnect within the art world itself that warranted exploration.

I owe a great debt of gratitude to Kirsten Lloyd for supervising my dissertation as well as helping me contact my interviewees. The knowledge I gained from Neville Rae of Old School Fabrications and Danny Holcroft was invaluable and my dissertation would not have been successful without their participation."

Dr Kirsten Lloyd, Collections and Curating Practices Programme Director adds: "This is a terrific dissertation which builds on recent debates regarding the production of contemporary art, introducing fresh perspectives through interviews with technicians as well as insightful theoretical analysis. It’s an exciting and original piece of work that deserves high praise. I do hope Carley considers developing it for publication."

The second recipient of the prize was Genevieve Fay, whose dissertation, Anselm Kiefer's Concrete Towers: Fragile Architectures, Haunted Memorials, focuses on  Kiefer's architectural experiments.

“I first encountered Anselm Kiefer's work in 2014 at a major Royal Academy retrospective in London, an exhibition in which my dissertation supervisor was involved. Five years later, as a full-time art history student at ECA, I grappled with decisions about which aspects of his work to analyse that had not already been exhaustively covered." says Genevieve.

Photograph of Genevieve Fay stood in front of large work by Anselm Kiefer at the White Cube gallery in London.
Image courtesy: Genevieve Fay
Genevieve Fay at the exhibition, Anselm Kiefer: Superstrings, Runes, The Norns, Gordian Knot, White Cube, London 2019

"I am very grateful to the History of Art department for awarding this prize to me, jointly with Carley. Thank you to all the teachers and lecturers who challenged my thinking, and especially to my supervisor, Christian Weikop, for sharing his vast knowledge on Kiefer and helping me to navigate all the tangents I wanted to explore.”

"I decided to focus on Kiefer's architectural experiments, which have pushed his practice far beyond the monumental paintings for which he is best known. The writing process slowly dispelled my doubts over whether I had anything fresh to say about Kiefer. His concrete towers became the lens through which I could explore multiple other interests, sparked by the modules I had studied earlier in the year. Discussions of Romanticism, public art, photography and Brutalism all found their way into the project."

Dr Christian Weikop, Senior Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary German Art adds: It is difficult to develop new angles on Kiefer such is the extensive body of literature on this artist, but Genevieve produced a really original piece of work that was wonderful to read. We are proud of her achievements. As well as submitting an outstanding dissertation, she achieved the highest overall mark across all the programmes.”

 

Congratulations to both Carley and Genevieve, for this fantastic achievement.




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