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ASA Impressions

The Art School Alliance program at HFBK from the student's view:

Anouk Grandits, Purchase College, School of Art+Design, New York

Winter 2019/20

I wanted to be in the Art School Alliance because it feels like a residency with all the more support of a school. The ASA program is so generous with its students as well. I knew that I wanted to attend HFBK because it seemed like such a big shift outside of what I am used to. Not only is the European teaching model very different to the USA’s, but HFBK is such an international school I feel as though I am receiving even more various approaches to my education.

Tessa Gustin, École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris

Summer 2019

The most remarkable thing about studying at the HFBK is seeing the other HFBK students being so sharp and passionate about their work. Also, the workshops are so trusting of their students, it’s the best environment to produce ambitious pieces. Students and teaching staff are always willing to help. They are very generous and the individual meetings are always enriching. The HFBK forms a real community and every week, many art-related events initiated by the students are happening.

Julen Laburu Gibaut, Universidad del Cine, Buenos Aires

Summer 2019

At the HFBK there is a lot of freedom in regards to the development of projects and the possibility to take courses. It is very satisfying that you can discuss your projects with different professors. The openness both of the teaching staff as well as the students is something to emphasize. Also, it is very interesting to see the works and the artistic processes of different, international students as we share the tutorials in our flats and see what everyone is doing.

Talya Feldman, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Tufts University, Boston

Summer 2019

The exchanges I have had with staff and students at the HFBK have made me a better and more thoughtful artist. The varying insights I have received on my work have enabled me to approach my concepts in new ways. They made me have more confidence in my choices of materials and my process decisions. I value the relaxed attitude that students and professors have, while at the same time strongly focusing on their work and deeply respecting everyone else’s.

Rosie Dowd-Smyth, Goldsmiths, University of London

Winter 2017/18, Summer 2018

Having flat and studio in one place is amazing. I really like to be totally surrounded by what I am thinking about, so being surrounded by art all the time is such a luxury. To basically live in a studio is ridiculously exciting and I’ll probably never have that much space again. In the ASA studios I can work on seven things at once and it doesn’t bother anyone. It’s one of those amazing opportunities that you really don’t have to think of anything else but your work and art. The international context definitely subconsciously influences my work – I’ve never met and lived with so many people from different backgrounds in my life and it’s quite fascinating.

Violeta Paez Armando, Goldsmiths, University of London

Winter 2017/18, Summer 2018

Residence systems in general are more happening in an international and global context, so I think it’s important to already experience this context before graduating – and the ASA exchange is perfect for that. It’s both very interesting and stressful to show your work to a totally new environment and explain your own context. You really have to rethink all of the things that (back home) are being assumed about your work which really helps to develop and overthink your work and art practice. I also enjoyed the approach towards art at HFBK: Instead of getting lost in concepts and forgetting about the actual art HFBK really focuses on the art practice and development of techniques. There is a strong awareness on materials and a very sculptural understanding of things.

Hélène Padoux, ENSBA Paris

Winter 2017/18, Summer 2018

My work has changed a lot since I am here because I feel freer to test things and expand my ideas. This freedom led to a transition in my art, it changed my work and approach towards it. Not only regarding the size of my pieces – it’s the first time that I can really work on high formats because we have a really high ceiling here at the ASA studios and pretty good light. But also, it helped me to see my work from a new angle – sometimes a fresh view on your work is so accurate. I am really fond of the general approach here to talk about art: People wouldn’t ask why you do something, but what you are interested in. Everyone speaks easily here and is open to share ideas and thoughts about art.

Maximilian Kolten, Akademie der bildenden Künste, Vienna

Winter 2017/18

The ASA programme is like a residency that I have used to exchange ideas with very different people and to talk with the professors at HFBK about my work. It is exactly this opportunity – locate your work in a new context and receive very different feedback – that was so important and enriching to me. I very much liked the great workshops at HFBK and I was surprised – in a good way – how easy the access was, even on an individual basis for guest students. I am more than happy that I participated in the ASA programme – the influences I experienced will now help me graduate.

Erzhuo Zhao, China Academy of Art, Hangzhou

Winter 2017/18

“You are the one that knows most about your own work” is what the teaching staff at HFBK told me when discussing my work. Studying here rather means to discuss and debate controversially then just soaking up knowledge. I think it is a very empowering approach and totally different from what I have experienced so far, it’s very liberating regarding my artistic work. But also, the international aspect influences my work: We talk a lot at the ASA studios and exchange about our cultures and different experiences in making art. This made me even more conscious about myself and my work but also inspired me to try out some new materials and technics.

Vienna Gist, California Institute of the Arts, Los Angeles

Summer 2017, Winter 2017/18

My studies at HFBK led me to expand my art practice a lot and since I am here my work has changed and is more hands-on. One reason might be that the workshops here are amazing and I spent a lot of time in the ceramic workshop. I even want to continue what I’ve been doing here for my graduate show back home. I really enjoyed how friendly people are and it’s easy to get involved here at school as well as in Hamburg in general. The students here are very social and there were many collaborative works I participated in.

María Eva Quetglas Vassel, Universidad del Cine, Buenos Aires

Summer 2017, Winter 2017/18

For me the key word is freedom – participating in the ASA programme is just like someone says: Ok, do your work and be an artist, the rest is taken care of. I feel like I can really just focus on my studies while the university takes care of everything else, like housing, studio, all the formal organization and so on. But also, the studies themselves at HFBK are very open and free. So instead of getting grades it is a lot about receiving feedback and discussing each other’s work – I think it’s the best way to grow and develop your art, I really like it! So, the ASA programme may sound like a dream and you think “what is the catch?” – but there is no catch, really.

Cecilie Nørgaard, Akademie der bildenden Künste, Vienna

Summer 2017, Winter 2017/18

It’s a very important acknowledgement that developing something good takes a lot of time and space – this is what the ASA programme generously provides you. In terms of living and working but also regarding the attention given to the students. The latter of which is particularly remarkable about HFBK from my point of view, the school does really take care of the students and is a great place to develop a good art practice. Also, the other ASA partner schools widened my approach towards art. Sharing so much time and thoughts with the Goldsmiths students was for me personally very eye-opening.

23 Fragen des Institutional Questionaire, grafisch umgesetzt von Ran Altamirano auf den Türgläsern der HFBK Hamburg zur Jahresausstellung 2021; photo: Charlotte Spiegelfeld


Who speaks? Who paints which motif? Who is shown, who is not? Questions of identity politics play an important role in art and thus also at the HFBK Hamburg. In the current issue, the university's own Lerchenfeld magazine highlights university structures as well as student initiatives that deal with diversity and identity.

Grafik: Tim Ballaschke

Start of semester

After three semesters of hybrid teaching under pandemic conditions, we are finally about to start another semester of presence. We welcome all new students and teachers at the HFBK Hamburg and cordially invite you to the opening of the academic year 2020/21, which this year will be accompanied by a guest lecture by ruangrupa.

Graphic design: Sam Kim, picture in the background: Sofia Mascate, photo: Marie-Theres Böhmker

Graduate Show 2021: All Good Things Come to an End

From September 24 to 26, the more than 150 Bachelor's and Master's graduates of the class of 2020/21 will present their final projects as part of the Graduate Show at the HFBK Hamburg. We would like to thank all visitors and participants.

photo: Klaus Frahm

Summer Break

The HFBK Hamburg is in the lecture-free period, many students and teachers are on summer vacation, art institutions have summer break. This is a good opportunity to read and see a variety of things:

ASA Open Studio 2019, Karolinenstraße 2a, Haus 5; photo: Matthew Muir

Live und in Farbe: die ASA Open Studios im Juni 2021

Since 2010, the HFBK has organised the international exchange programme Art School Alliance. It enables HFBK students to spend a semester abroad at renowned partner universities and, vice versa, invites international art students to the HFBK. At the end of their stay in Hamburg, the students exhibit their work in the Open Studios in Karolinenstraße, which are now open again to the art-interested public.

Studiengruppe Prof. Dr. Anja Steidinger, Was animiert uns?, 2021, Mediathek der HFBK Hamburg, Filmstill

Unlearning: Wartenau Assemblies

The art education professors Nora Sternfeld and Anja Steidinger initiated the format "Wartenau Assemblies". It oscillates between art, education, research and activism. Complementing this open space for action, there is now a dedicated website that accompanies the discourses, conversations and events.

Ausstellungsansicht "Schule der Folgenlosigkeit. Übungen für ein anderes Leben" im Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg; photo: Maximilian Schwarzmann

School of No Consequences

Everyone is talking about consequences: The consequences of climate change, the Corona pandemic or digitalization. Friedrich von Borries (professor of design theory), on the other hand, is dedicated to consequence-free design. In “School of No Consequences. Exercises for a New Life” at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, he links collection objects with a "self-learning room" set up especially for the exhibition in such a way that a new perspective on "sustainability" emerges and supposedly universally valid ideas of a "proper life" are questioned.

Annual Exhibition 2021 at the HFBK

Annual exhibition a bit different: From February 12- 14, 2021 students at the Hamburg University of Fine Arts, together with their professors, had developed a variety of presentations on different communication channels. The formats ranged from streamed live performances to video programs, radio broadcasts, a telephone hotline, online conferences, and a web store for editions. In addition, isolated interventions could be discovered in the outdoor space of the HFBK and in the city.

Public Information Day 2021

How do I become an art student? How does the application process work? Can I also study to become a teacher at the HFBK? These and other questions about studying art were answered by professors, students and staff at the HFBK during the Public Information Day on February 13, 2021. In addition, there will be an appointment specifically for English-speaking prospective students on February 23 at 2 pm.

Katja Pilipenko

Semestereröffnung und Hiscox-Preisverleihung 2020

On the evening of November 4, the HFBK celebrated the opening of the academic year 2020/21 as well as the awarding of the Hiscox Art Prize in a livestream - offline with enough distance and yet together online.

Exhibition Transparencies with works by Elena Crijnen, Annika Faescke, Svenja Frank, Francis Kussatz, Anne Meerpohl, Elisa Nessler, Julia Nordholz, Florentine Pahl, Cristina Rüesch, Janka Schubert, Wiebke Schwarzhans, Rosa Thiemer, Lea van Hall. Organized by Prof. Verena Issel and Fabian Hesse; photo: Screenshot

Teaching Art Online at the HFBK

How the university brings together its artistic interdisciplinary study structure with digital formats and their possibilities.

Alltagsrealität oder Klischee?; photo: Tim Albrecht

HFBK Graduate Survey

Studying art - and what comes next? The clichéd images stand their ground: Those who have studied art either become taxi drivers, work in a bar or marry rich. But only very few people could really live from art – especially in times of global crises. The HFBK Hamburg wanted to know more about this and commissioned the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences at the University of Hamburg to conduct a broad-based survey of its graduates from the last 15 years.

Ausstellung Social Design, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, Teilansicht; photo: MKG Hamburg

How political is Social Design?

Social Design, as its own claim is often formulated, wants to address social grievances and ideally change them. Therefore, it sees itself as critical of society – and at the same time optimizes the existing. So what is the political dimension of Social Design – is it a motor for change or does it contribute to stabilizing and normalizing existing injustices?