Gray’s students host exhibition in Vienna

Students from Gray's School of Art have staged a special exhibition in Vienna inspired by a week-long trip to Austria.

Gray's students at the opening of Rapid, ViennaThe 42 Painting and Contemporary Art Practice (CAP) students, who ranged from second year to PhD level, spent a week in Vienna before staging the exhibition called ‘Rapid’ in the Austrian capital’s AU gallery for 24 hours.

Students responded to both the historical and contemporary art worlds in Vienna, which is one of the richest visual cities in the world, and were also able to compare and contrast the city with a day trip to Bratislava in Slovakia, where the focus is very much on contemporary art.

The culmination of the trip was a one night exhibition in AU on Friday night, with students presenting work across the fine art disciplines; from drawing and painting to installation, video and live visual performance.

In addition to responding to the new environment in which they had been immersed, students also focused on materiality, the built environment, the traces of Scottish history in Vienna, and on the experience of working away from home.

The trip was led by Gray's lecturer and curator Dr Jon Blackwood, who said: "These trips are fabulously rewarding for staff and students alike. Students have the opportunity to make new connections in a European city, and to present their work effectively in a challenging professional environment. The emphasis in these trips is on cultural immersion, professional development, and confidence-building through adapting to the circumstances in which they find themselves.

“The students did themselves great credit by working really hard to deliver such an interesting and varied exhibition. It is also really great for Gray's to be able to show what we are capable of in a city so rich in historical and contemporary art.”

Contemporary Art Practice (CAP) student Svetlana Panova said: “The trip was incredibly exciting. It was both educational in terms of having the opportunity to familiarise ourselves with the art scene in Vienna, and a challenge to create work and exhibit as a part of that scene.

“Creating work in such a short timescale was a great challenge, but also a useful exercise of a sort. It made me more critical and confident in making decisions about the work I wanted to produce and the way I wanted to present it.”

Abby Quick photoFellow CAP student Abby Quick said: “I had a wonderful time exploring Vienna and immersing myself in its culture. The range of galleries was excellent, from contemporary to traditional work. I've returned to Scotland with a whirlpool of inspiration to draw from.

“I spent most days hopping between galleries and documenting the trip, photographing friends and strangers alike. Alongside a poem I wrote, my piece for the exhibition was a collage of my photographs and found materials.

“It was my first exhibition and was somewhat daunting at first, but I had such an amazing experience and it was really great being able to talk about my work to strangers from a foreign country, without any pre-conceived notions about my work.”

Painting student Suzann Ross added: “Vienna was unique in that, some days there was more people to be found in the huge grandiose palace museums than the city itself. It is immersed in history with incredible architecture ranging from the 12th Century St Stephens’s gothic cathedral to the quirky beauty of the Spittelau waste incineration plant designed by the Viennese eco architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser.

“Creating a piece for the exhibition at the end of the week was challenging in the sense that there was little time to consider many options but this in turn provided a more spontaneous and reactive practice in which to create that proved highly enjoyable and extremely worthwhile.”

Find out more about the trip and see the work of some of the exhibiting artists

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Jenny RushCommunications Officer | Design and Technology