Sunday | 09. July 2023

HfK-Hochschulpreise awarded

Review: Hochschultage 2023

A press release from Melisa Lemcke

© Hochschule für Künste Bremen – Lukas Klose

A weekend dedicated to art, design and music: around 5,000 visitors took part in the University of the Arts (HfK) open house days on July 8th and 9th. As part of the opening ceremony, the HfK-Hochschulpreise were presented for outstanding achievements in the study programmes.

The intersection of art, music, politics, philosophy, design and science reveals the potential of the HfK. The students of the Hochschule für Künste Bremen are creative, future-oriented and critical actors. They meet the challenges, opportunities and crises of our time through artistic developments, interventions and design projects.

This was shown particularly impressively during the Hochschultage: With an interdisciplinary approach and by experimenting with different materials, media, technologies and working methods, diverse project formats were created: "There were over 200 exhibitions, installations, lectures, fashion, technologies, performances, films, video art and live music performances to experience," said Fabian Brunke, alumnus and event manager of HfK Bremen. "This year, students, PhD candidates and graduates have exhibited both individually and collectively," adds alumna and event manager Sue Wendlandt. Together with Elizaveta (Liza) Kovalenko, alumna of Fine Arts, and Viacheslav (Slava) Romanov, Master's student in Digital Media, they organised and curated the Hochschultage.

Around 250 guests were present at the ceremonial opening of the open house days on Saturday, July 8th 2023. A highlight of the opening event was the passing on of the president‘s baton: Prof. Dr. Mirjam Boggasch has been President of HfK Bremen since July 1st, 2023. The official handover of office took place during the Hochschultage. The former president of the university, Prof. Roland Lambrette, presented Boggasch with two nautical flags with the corresponding flag and waving alphabet. These, he said, were intended to support Boggasch in the execution of her office, referencing the port history of the Überseestadt. The most important signals such as "no" and "correct" were practised live on stage. Boggasch emphasised that the open house days were a wonderful opportunity for her to get to know the fields of art, design, media and music directly in all their diversity. "I look forward to shaping the future of the HfK Bremen together with the students, faculty and staff members," said the president.

The presentation of this year's Hochschulpreise to HfK students and graduates for outstanding artistic, musical and design works was eagerly awaited. Prizes were awarded and commendations given in each of the study areas of Music, Fine Arts, Integrated Design and Digital Media.

Hochschulpreise 2023: Overview of all categories and award winners

Due to the consistently high standard, the jury considered all finalists worthy of a prize. No first prize was awarded this year.

Solo artists: 2. prices

Violinist Kalliopi Rizou, she studies in the 6th semester, Bachelor of Music

Jury statement: "Kalliopi Rizou captivated the audience and the jury from the very beginning with her high musicality. In expression and shaping always very differentiated and finely elaborated, she at the same time always conveyed a high joy of music making, which made the listener completely forget the competition situation and immerse themselves in the music."

© Hochschule für Künste Bremen – Lukas Klose

Pianist Kristofer Gjoni, studying in the 8th semester, Bachelor of Music

The jury's statement: "Kristofer Gjoni impressed with great sovereignty, with which he shook the technically and musically highly demanding programme out of his sleeve, as it were. Stylistically and tonally extremely differentiated, he also knew how to create a musically dense atmosphere throughout, which captivated the jury and audience from the very first note."

© Hochschule für Künste Bremen – Lukas Klose

Solo artists: 3rd prize

Pianist Wenwen Zhao, she studies in the 4th semester, Master of Music

Jury statement: "Wenwen Zhao presented herself as an extremely sensitive musician who knows how to give the various works in her programme their own 'tone'. A high stylistic understanding is combined in her performance with beautiful and tasteful tonal differentiation."

© Hochschule für Künste Bremen – Lukas Klose

Ensemble Prize

Jazz duo Magnus Bodzin (double bass) and Moritz Schöwing (piano), they study in the 6th and 8th semester, Bachelor of Music.

Jury statement: "The jazz duo gave a remarkable musical performance that delighted audience and jury alike. The two musicians harmonised excellently with each other and created an atmosphere of high intensity and emotionality with their programme of jazz standards and original compositions. Both their impressive virtuosity and their sensitive interaction were convincing all along the line."

© Hochschule für Künste Bremen – Amina Falah


Jury: Andreas Gürsching (HfK professor for music theory), Florian Poser (HfK professor for popular music and vibraphone in jazz), Stefan Veselka (HfK professor for orchestra/ensemble conducting) and Artem Yasynskyy (pianist and HfK alumnus).

1st place

Bahareh Hejrankeshrad for "Knots" (video, 2023, class Rosa Barba). She is also in the class of Heike Kati Barath.

Jury statement: "Her technically sophisticated and poetic video, which is presented predominantly in black and white and does completely without sound, with some references to the art film of the 1920s, is honoured. The work shows, as the title already indicates, tactile knotting and interweaving of bodies, predominantly of hands and feet, which abstract from the body, dissolve into dreamlike images and once again confirm an already old description of cinematic images: namely as equivalent to our inner mental images - as vice versa." 

© Hochschule für Künste Bremen – Kim Mayer

2nd place

Peng Liu for "That day was 0 degrees. They got chills, if you not inside them" (Video, 2023, Inter-course class Asli Serbest)

Jury statement: "The second prize goes to Peng Lui for his impressive video work That Day Was 0 Degree: a completely still shot of a huge brick warehouse opposite the HfK in late winter, in which the remnants of snow on the steep roof dissolve so very gradually and slide down step by step. The video lasts almost six hours, is also shot in slow motion and is unlikely to be watched in its entirety by anyone. But when you see one of these moments, when the snow falls in slow motion, it is an incredibly poetic moment and makes the slow, hardly otherwise perceived processes in time very vividly tangible."

© Hochschule für Künste Bremen – Kim Mayer

3rd place

Rui Diao for "Hi, Top" (Mixed Media, 2023, class Katrin von Maltzahn)

Jury statement: "The third prize goes to Rui Diao for his humorous and grotesquely severe work Hi, Top. On display are funnel-shaped plastic ruffs that are actually given to dogs when they are not allowed to scratch their heads. And how disconcertingly funny and at the same time self-evident it looks when these dog ruffs, as seen in the large-format, strictly frontal view photo against a background of woods and meadows, are worn by people whose faces can at best only be guessed at and who can at best only look upwards. Why don't you try it out for yourself on the basis of the dog curls on display, transform yourself and send a photo to the artist - that's the explicit instruction. How does it feel and what associations do you have?

Special mentions

Johanna Baumgart's "Plans and what became of them" (original: Pläne und was aus ihnen wurde), (Mixed Media, 2023, class Andree Korpys/Markus Löffler), "on which police notices and court summonses are printed, again against a backdrop of scooped paper created from the very posters destroyed by the authorities that called for the very actions and demonstrations that led to these state repressions - a multi-layered work in both the literal and figurative sense", said the jury.

The collective work "Temporary Archive" (class Asli Serbest) for "the very subtle, relational and yet coherent presentation", according to the jury.

Harumi Miyato's "Tulip" (original: Tulpe), (Painting/Assemblage, class Stephan Baumkötter) "as a painterly experiment with the old genre of the flower still life; without question a very beautiful and finely painted picture, but at the same time broken as an assemblage of everyday paper" (jury statement).

Collective Installation "Creating a Garden, Building Mountains, Organising Water" (Class Ingo Vetter) "Their material consists of colourful rubbish from clothes and mountains of paper waste that would otherwise have gone into the process of recycling, but was taken out here and, not least following the example of Japanese garden art, transformed into an irrigated garden: in view of the fatal Anthropocene and its climate change, a utopia of the possibility of a new living world that is becoming real, at least in this temporary place." (Jury statement)


Dr. Annett Reckert (Kuratorin Kunsthalle Bremen), Ingo Clauß (Kurator Weserburg Museum für moderne Kunst), Dr. Frank Schmidt (Direktor Museen Böttcherstraße) und Nadja Quante (künstlerische Leiterin des Künstlerhaus Bremen).

1st place

Yuan Lin for "The Overseas Tour or The Overseers' Tour" (original: Die Übersee Tour or Overseers‘ Tour), site-specific performance

Jury statement: "Several of the projects nominated this year express a general sense of isolation, rootlessness and helplessness. Yuan Lin's performance is one of these works. However, in her Guided Tour of this building, its secrets, its echoing corridors and its one lonely Dallmayer coffee machine, this basic feeling suddenly becomes both concrete and comic.  With an enthusiastic friendliness that eventually tips into the uncanny, Yuan directs the tour participants‘ attention to dysfunctional details, structural problems and to their own stubborn attempts to make sense of a reality experienced as grotesque.  From the perspective of a stranger, The Overseas Tour does an intelligent job of taking stock, not only of studying at the HfK, its convoluted administration and obscure mechanisms, but also of the disillusionment of a generation. It makes complex social and psychological contexts comprehensible and accessible. The jury was particularly impressed by the radically humorous treatment of these themes. At no point does Yuan break with the role of the awkward tour guide. Comedy here becomes an empowerment strategy that suddenly creates spaces for free play and poetic association, especially when Yuan abruptly starts singing."

© Hochschule für Künste Bremen – Kim Mayer

Anna Zineli, Ruben Lyon, Christine Claussen, Qi Jin, Cora Stam, Ilona Karacsony, Vassilissa Gorbacheva, Vera Tolmatsova, Magdalena Otto, Erik Wälz, Andrej Denisow, Leona Heerbaart, Guillermo Marcelo Bolentini Bada, Janusz Kendel, Simon Krüger, Fan, Chen Shao, Joshua Rödel, Ivett Kallai, Marcel Effner, Markus Meier, Isa Kleinhempel, Lennart Heuser, Louisa Beßling, Lisa Spetzler, Tristan Keyers, Petra Tjandra, Wahida Soulemane, Boyang Xia, Hye Sun Yoo, Helise Gomes Oliveira, Josephine Beste and others. a. for "Bunker Requiem - NO MORE WAR", collective concert performance at the memorial Bunker Valentin.

Jury statement: "This extraordinarily ambitious project, which impressively demonstrates the interdisciplinarity of HfK, brings together over 30 students from different faculties and courses of study. Under the artistic direction of Raphael Sbrzesny, HfK professor of creation and interpretation specialising in sound, performance and concept, and Felix Elsner, HfK professor of music education, the students activate the monumental halls of the Valentin bunker with a constantly changing choreography of shadow plays, performative gestures and sound compositions. The interweaving of the different disciplines leads to a variety of surprising creative approaches. The jury was particularly impressed by the calm, almost contemplative attitude with which the work responds to the brute presence of the bunker. 
In a time of increasing normalisation of authoritarian and nationalistic attitudes, the Bunker Requiem demonstrates a sensitive and moving approach to a historical site that makes the cruelty of German fascism directly tangible. 
The Bunker Requiem avoids didactically repeating what is already known. It also resists the temptation to aestheticise the enormous building. Instead, it offers a new way of dealing with and accessing the familiar place of thought. The students' commitment and the great urgency that this project had for them was impressively felt by the jury in yesterday's presentation."

© Hochschule für Künste Bremen – Kim Mayer

3rd place

Mirja Kuberka for "The Church in the Village" (original: Die Kirche im Dorf), photographic work

Jury statement: "Through the medium of architectural photography and book publication, Mirja Kuberka captures a complex and highly topical theme with unagitated precision: the progressive secularisation of society, as seen in the increasingly common rededication, or 'profanation', of religious buildings. Sacred places and rituals are replaced by the fitness centre, the day-care centre or the private domicile conceived as a highly individualised bohemian loft.  Mirja's photography is technically competent and objective. She confidently combines social analysis with craft and aesthetic sensibility. On closer inspection, subtle narratives and observations come to the fore.  The jury was particularly impressed by the translation of the photographic work into a carefully considered book publication that sensitively and competently combines graphics, book design and photography."

© Hochschule für Künste Bremen – Kim Mayer

Honourable mention

Anisha Gatter's room with "(Male Fantasies) & Body Boulder Wall" [original: (Männerfantasien) & Body Boulder Wall], Installation

Jury statement: "In her installation, Anisha Gattnar takes up an underrepresented aspect of the now generally idealised counterculture of the 1960s: the sexist and often sadistic fantasies that flooded the alternative publications of the time as a concomitant of the sexual revolution. She makes a surprising connection between this dark side of liberation and the sexist and sadistic conditioning of soldierly masculinity between the world wars described by Klaus Theweleit. Anisha has scoured the Archive of Independent Publishing housed at the HfK for sexually explicit depictions and combined them into a wallpaper pattern. The result is a visually impressive and disturbing installation. At the same time, a feminist attitude comes to the fore that can and will afford to see the comedy and the pathetic in this concentrated amount of negative male fantasies from a historical distance and disempower them with humour." 


Julia Bulk (Director Wilhelm Wagenfeld Haus, Bremen), Mathias Lempart (artist, graphic designer, co-founder of Shortnotice Studio) and Anna Bornhold (shoe designer).

1st place

Nilufer Musaeva with "These URLs will save the IRL", she studies in the 6th semester, Master of Arts

Jury statement: We appreciate the effort to tackle an important topic that is experienced by many students in an extensive research that encompasses several formats and mediums. A book that’s is the result of a collaboration with students from other art institutions, a in house investigation on art schools in Germany and a Frankenstein website consisting of a top list of inaccessible modules of other art school websites. The difficulty of accessibility of resource and knowledge related to art education institutions in Germany is made transparent in her work in comical and incisive way.

Link to website:,the%20main%20UX%20design%20principles.

© Hochschule für Künste Bremen – Kim Mayer

2nd place

Juan Camilo Luque with "softLimits", studies in the 6th semester, Master of Arts

Jury statement: „Juan’s work soft limits directly catches your eye. The idea of firing a loop of yarn through a self made string shooter seems simple at first sight. Having two of them interacting with each other, however, makes it a beautiful choreography that feels quite human. The stripped down execution of the work leaves enough space for imagination, interpreting and projection, emphasizing the poetic potential of the installation. Even though the strings are not programmed to touch, this art piece touches you.“

© Hochschule für Künste Bremen – Kim Mayer

3rd place

Soo Hyun Ryu with "Phantom Tail", studies in the 6th semester, Bachelor of Arts

Jury statement: „Soo Hyun’s work, speaks to the ongoing discourse on human and non human relations in a direct and captivating way. Through a simple gesture,from its concept, related to the phantom limb phenomenon, to its intricate execution, the project presents clearly the notion that might be hard to grasp, questioning what it means to be human in the first place. It is reminding us of our past iterations, while speculating the future coexistence with the fellow (non)humans“.

© Hochschule für Künste Bremen – Kim Mayer

Prize for an interdisciplinary work

The prize for an interdisciplinary work offered by the University and HfK Bremen goes to "WeCookit and WeEatit" by Asif Md. Siddiqui, Ravi Kakadiya, Nazia Nusrat Ima, Debaditya Bhowmik (students Digital Media University Bremen) as well as Julia Vollmer, Jimmy Dao Sheng Liu, Nathalie Gebert, Alberto Salgado Harres, Chi Him Chik, Hsun Hsiang Hsu (students Digital Media HfK Bremen) and Meyna Souza (students Integrated Design HfK Bremen).

Jury statement: “We Cook it Expresses a cohesive collaboration between the university and HfK. The groups project highlights some of the structural problems that are unaddressed in the school and we appreciate the students initiative and dedication to find a solution. In a continual way, week by week, the collaboration speaks not only through ist outcome, but as well through the process and the exchange that might not take place otherwise. By celebrating the international context and communal care, the project shows potential to grow in different directions.“

© Hochschule für Künste Bremen – Kim Mayer

Special mentions

Qianxun Chen for “A Message Lies Between the Cracks”

Jury statement: "We were captivated by Qianxun‘s cohesive process and meticulous research on prophetic matter through deliberate, and yet ordinary, rice grains.“

Vivian Hernandez for "Liquid Poems”

Jury statement: “We want to honor Vivian Hernandez's work Liquid Poems as it sensitively and poetically connects the stories of Columbia's rivers and their communities with her own migratory process. It shows a great personal commitment to the ongoing research process as well as a considerate reflection of her own position within it and we look forward to see the it further develop.“

Jimmy Dao Sheng Lius for “The Memory Radio”

Jury statement: “The Memory Radio through its interactive and playful interface presents memory in an engaging yet mysterious contexts.“

Clemens Hornemanns for "Automated Ritual no.1”

Jury statement: “We appreciate the fine execution and presentation of the work, particularly the use of the room to enhance the sonic experience. Clemens work is an intense reflection on the notion of value relating the past to present, both through the context and the performative outcome.“


Bruno Christofoletti Barrenha (film, video, installation, sound and archive artist), Irena Kukrić (set designer, mediaartist, researcher), Maximilian Kiepe (web designer and developer), Guida Ribeiro (digital artist and web developer), Hakeem Adam (digital artist and author) and Henrik Nieratschker (artist, designer, curator).