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.