This year's August Sander Award goes to the young Austrian artist Rebecca Unz (* 2000) for her portrait series "Sensibelchen," 2018-2019. The digital photographs focus on the faces of young men and women from the musical environment of hip hop and rap. They are head studies, modeled by a special light guide that assigns each portrait its place in the series of images: impressively, the series progresses image by image like a musical scale from a warm to a cold hue, thus reinforcing the range of variation in the moments and sensitivities observed by Rebecca Unz.
In this exhibition, conceived on the occasion of the award ceremony, other works will be shown in addition to the award-winning series, which deal with the various facets of portraiture, up to and including an abstract analysis of form. For Rebecca Unz, the genre holds a multitude of possibilities for artistically reflecting on a person as a complex individual. Here, the person is also understood as a projection surface, and the use of various creative means and their specific possibilities each emphasize their own aspects. In her diploma thesis at the Ortweinschule in Graz, where she attended the class for Photography & Multimedia Art, she used the example of the rapper "Eloquent" to explore multi-layered imaginary worlds about his person and image.
Rebecca Unz not only uses the medium of photography, but also drawing, executed in pencil or in digital implementation, is one of her artistic means, with whose potential she experiments - whether in a naturalistic or in an abstract manner - with confidence. She deliberately blurs the boundaries of recognizability of the techniques she employs, challenging the viewer's attentive perception.
The August Sander Prize was offered for the first time in 2018 by the Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur, donated by Ulla Bartenbach and Prof. Dr. Kurt Bartenbach. The prize is associated with the idea of promoting young contemporary artistic approaches in response to factual-conceptual photography, with a particular focus on the human portrait.