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Michaela Melián

Michaela Melián, Professor of Mixed Media / Acoustics

Michaela Melián, who previously taught at the HFBK Hamburg as a visiting professor from 2006 to 2008, accepted an appointment as professor in the department of Time-based Media in 2010.

Melián, born in 1956 in Munich, initially studied music (at the Richard-Strauss-Konservatorium in Munich and at other institutions), before studying art at the Münchener Akademie der Bildenden Künste and in London. In the 1980, she began to sing and to play bass with the band F.S.K. (Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle), and from 1980 onwards she was co-editor of the literary magazineMode und Verzweiflung. As a musician, she has also produced several independent albums. In addition to her activities at the HFBK Hamburg, Melián has previous experience of teaching at the Münchener Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Munich, and at the ETH Zürich, department for Art and Architecture.

In her artistic work, Melián develops many-layered fields of memory, manufacturing complex contexts from contentual references and quotations. She once described her method asa politics of memory. Melián’s artworks are preceded by intensive research. From a multiplicity of diverse narrative strands, the artist creates narrative arcs that contrast historic facts with private memories and histories. She combines objects, photographs, films, music and texts to create cross-genre installations and audiovisual projects whose interactions and references reach deep into the sociopolitical and historical context.

In 2010, Melián was awarded the prestigious Kunstpreis der Stadt München by the City of Munich. Her acoustic memorial to the victims of National Socialism in Munich,Memory Loops, was also unveiled in 2010; it was declared theaudioplay of the year 2010 by the Deutsche Akademie der Darstellenden Künste. This audio artwork comprises 300 German and 175 English tracks, made available for listening and for downloading at In this project, Melián lays the voices of the National Socialists’ victims and witnesses over the city as a permanent, invisible installation, forming a kind of virtual grid that will always be a part of the city. The sound files can be compiled into a personal memory loop on a mobile phone or MP3 player, and followed, on an individual basis, through the city. In 2011, Michaela Melián was awarded the art prize of the City of Nordhorn.

Contact to the tutor of the class:

Selected Solo Exhibitions:

2011–12 Städtische Galerie Nordhorn
2010 Rathausgalerie München, Kunsthalle
2009 Lentos Museum, Linz; glasmoog / KHM, Köln; Ludlow 38, New York
2008 Cubitt Gallery, London; Ulmer Museum, Ulm; Galerie Karin Guenther, Hamburg
Gruppenausstellungen (Auswahl):
Selected Group Exhibitions:
2010 Home Less Home, Contemporary Art Museum on the Seam, Jerusalem
2009 The Dwelling, ACCA Melbourne, Australien; See the Sound, Lentos Museum Linz; Recollecting, MAK Wien; Made in Munich, Haus der Kunst München
2008 Vertrautes Terrain, ZKM Karlsruhe; Art On Air, Museum Weserburg, Bremen; Pop Goes The Weasel, Kunstverein Karlsruhe
2007 Talkshow, Tranzit Bratislava; Multispeak, Witte Zaal, Gent
Latest Awards:
2011 Kunstpreis der Stadt Nordhorn
2010 Kunstpreis der Stadt München
2009 Hörspiel des Jahres der Deutschen Akademie der darstellenden Künste

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.

photo: Tim Albrecht

Art defies Corona: Graduate Show 2020

With a two-month delay, the Graduate Show took place this year on the 19 and 20 September. More than 140 students showed their artistic graduation projects, from painting to sound installation.

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?