18 July 2015


punk music_artfridge_15_UDK_Rundgang7969
Punk concert  in the hallway of UDK
 all works courtesy and © the artist, all photos © artfridge

The greek "OXI" – NO! – vote was something of a revolutionary credo embracing this year's annual degree show opening at Universität der Künste Berlin. Live punk music blasted through the hallways that were crowded with confused visitors, who wondered "where is the art"? The art was locked down. A loyal gesture to some of their professors, all students had previously decided to raise attention to corrupt professor deals by keeping their doors shut and not letting any guests enter the studio spaces during the opening night. Despite their hope to be picked up during the Rundgang, most students unanimously agreed to the collective act. The protest emphasises the position of a majority of students, who argue that the academy's hierarchical administration structures and their sweetheart deals with famous artists and their friends would not benefit their educational system. The flip side, they say, is that many lesser known guest professors receive unfair and bad paid short-term contracts that wouldn't even cover their insurance costs during the holiday period.

It's not only a mere oppositional behaviour. LOOSE GRIP, the name of their organised protest, consists of a student-led workshop program, dedicated to the improvement of their professor's working conditions and to a democratisation that includes the voice of the students. Considering the opening weekend and its traditional garden party as a forum for constructive conversations about the university's issues, their manifest states:
"Dear institution, we need to talk. You, us, a round table, a platform. Let's not loose grip, okay? Students are grown up now. We are organising a symposium in order to make things better. Shut up, art, it's all about education!" 
Although the students' seriousness suggested that their protest and their concerns were not merely resolved in boozing-up, the collective night was – fortunately – not all that grown up after all. There was punk. Punk in the hallways. Punk in the backyard. Punk in the studios. A revolutionary feel, accompanied by countless handwritten signs showing messages claiming that although this was an art academy, the night was all about getting drunk.

Most studios are open since Friday morning and will remain open to the public until Sunday evening. The works of the Meisterschüler, who just passed graduation, are traditionally exhibited in the entrance halls and a few other studio spaces. These were already visible during the opening night. While this might be understandable from a practical side, the work's presence weakened the protest's agency considerably by emasculating the "Shut up, art" statement.  

Collectively trying to work against their own commercialisation and fighting for improving their teacher's conditions, the artists' closed doors and the absence of art works – even if not entirely –  transmit one central and badly needed message: Against an economisation of art academies!

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17.- 19. July 2015

Fine Art, Architecture (et al)
Hardenbergstr. 33

Photo on 18-07-15 at 14.36 Photo on 18-07-15 at 14.36 #2
Loose Grip Program
Ayami Awazuhara_artfridge_15_UDK_Rundgang7982 Ayami Awazuhara_artfridge_15_UDK_Rundgang7985 Meisterschülerin Ayami Awazuhara
jonas maria droste_artfridge_15_UDK_Rundgang7977 jonas maria droste_artfridge_15_UDK_Rundgang7974 Meisterschüler Jonas Maria Droste
Mira Thönnessen_artfridge_15_UDK_Rundgang7972 Meisterschülerin Mira Thönnessen
Aliénor Dauchez_artfridge_15_UDK_Rundgang7958 Meisterschülerin Aliénor Dauchez
Florian Dickerhof_artfridge_15_UDK_Rundgang7997 Meisterschüler Florian Dickerhof Anton K. Pettersen_artfridge_15_UDK_Rundgang8000  Meisterschüler Anton K. Pettersen
UdK Garden_artfridge_15_UDK_Rundgang7973
The annual garden party
all works courtesy and © the artist, all photos © artfridge