Villa Romana Fellows 2017
Five Artists Receive a Stipend to Stay at the Renowned Artists' House

Five artists recently received Villa Romana Fellowships for 2017: Andrea Bellu, Carina Brandes, Kasia Fudakowski, Stefan Pente, and Farkhondeh Shahroudi will live and work at the artists’ house in Florence next year. They were chosen by the artist Natascha Sadr Haghighian and Moritz Wesseler, the director of the Kölnischer Kunstverein. The fellows are provided with a free studio and a monthly stipend that enables them to devote themselves strongly to their artistic work. In addition, they can engage in exchange with other international guest artists.

The Villa Romana Fellowship is not only the oldest German art prize but also the longest-standing cultural commitment of Deutsche Bank and its foundations. The bank has supported the renowned contemporary art award since the end of the 1920s. In recent years the Villa Romana has established itself as a platform on which various generations of artists, art scenes, and nationalities can meet. In 2013, the exhibition project Süden (South) brought the lively atmosphere of the Villa to the Deutsche Bank KunstHalle in Berlin.   

Andrea Bellu investigates the influence of violent early twentieth-century European history on the present. She has compiled material for her work during her travels in Silesia, Galicia, and Bukovina. Bellu is represented in the collection of the Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt. In 2016, she takes part in Archive Matters at the Center for Feminist Research of Goldsmith College in London.
 
Carina Brandes’ medium is analog black-and-white photography and she develops her photos herself in the lab. She usually photographs herself, staging herself in arbitrary and surreal situations. Brandes has participated in many group exhibitions, including shows at MoMa PS1 and at the Hannover, Bonn, and Cologne Kunstvereins.

Kasia Fudakowski’s
sculptures made of ceramic, rattan, metal, salt dough, and clay fluctuate between abstraction and figuration and play with the need of humans to recognize themselves in everything, which the artist repeatedly satirizes in her performances. Fudakowski has already participated in numerous international exhibitions. The FUTURA Contemporary Art Center in Prague devoted a solo exhibition to her this year.
 
Stefan Pente’s theme is the construction of identity by means of language and images. In his films and performances he often collaborates with others, including William Locke Wheeler. For 2017, he is preparing the urban- and gender-political operetta The Swansong. With more than 20 actors and coauthors, it will be performed at NGBK Berlin.

Farkhondeh Shahroudi engages with the destruction or “wounding” of objects. Her in part large-scale body sculptures embroidered with Arabic script can be found at the British Museum in London, among other places.

The Villa Romana Fellowship is awarded by the Villa Romana Assocation and funded by the Deutsche Bank Foundation, the German Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media, and private sponsors.