The young Austrian artist Rebecca Unz is the winner of the August Sander Award 2020.

What the international jury won for Rebecca Unz’s photographs is the precise visual execution of the individual shots, for which the artist chose the classic portrait form of a bust. You can see friends from the area of Hip Hop and Rap, music styles and related life concepts, with which Rebecca Unz has been active for several years and where she feels she belongs.

The jury members Dr. Anja Bartenbach (founder family), Gabriele Conrath-Scholl (Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur), Rineke Dijksta (artist, Amsterdam), Prof. Dr. Ursula Frohne (University of Münster) and Dr. Jeff Rosenheim (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York) decided on Rebecca Unz and her series “Sensibelchen” after intensive discussions and after the pre-selection in the form of a shortlist of ten candidates. The decision of the jury is intended to support a young, versatile artist who is just beginning her career. Not only photography is one of Rebecca Unz’s means of expression, painting and drawing are also part of it. Rebecca Unz is a student at the HTBLVA Ortweinschule in Graz and has just finished her diploma thesis.

From February 2018 to December 2019, Rebecca Unz worked on the series “Sensibelchen”, which the submitted portraits are part of. The portraits are characterized in particular by a well-thought-out lighting, which seems to model the faces of the young men and women against mostly neutral, only vague backgrounds. The series of images follows a scale from a warm to a cold tone and thus refers to a spectrum of different sensitivities and encounters. The focus is on the individual, their gaze and the respective facial expression. Individual features such as hairstyles, jewelry or headgear, which reveal something about the tastes of the wearer, are also included in the picture. In the portraits one encounters young people of the same generation and a common preference for a style of music, and yet everyone appears very individual in attitude and expression. Rebecca Unz is keen to “consciously reject the cliched facades of people who are active in Hip Hop / Rap culture and to dedicate to the individual itself and his or her sensitivity,” thus her own words about the series.

The August Sander Award was awarded for the first time in 2018 by Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur, donated by Ulla Bartenbach and Prof. Dr. Kurt Bartenbach. The call combines the idea of promoting young contemporary artistic approaches to documentary-conceptual photography, with a special focus on the human portrait. The response to the second call for proposals was gratifyingly large, more than 100 submissions from home and abroad were received.

Due to the current situation related to Covid-19 (Corona), an exact date of the award ceremony cannot be announced. An event is planned as part of the next exhibition project of Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur.

You can download the press photos via the link