21 Jun 2019

Villa Romana Fellows 2020 nominated:
Özlem Altin, Lydia Hamann/Kaj Osteroth, Alice Peragine, Amelia Umuhire
plus: first Artist Research Fellowship with Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence
Esper Postma

The artists Özlem Altın, Lydia Hamann /Kaj Osteroth, Alice Peragine and Amelia Umuhire are the Villa Romana Fellows 2020. Esper Postma is the first artist to receive the five-month Artist Research Fellowship, which has been created in cooperation with Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz - Max-Planck-Institute. The Fellows will live and work at the Villa Romana in Florence from February to November 2020. This year´s jury of the Villa Romana Prize - the artist Michaela Melián and Yvette Mutumba, curator and one of the two editors-in-chief of the magazine Contemporary And - selected the artists from twelve nominated candidates.

Özlem Altın (born 1977 in Goch, lives in Berlin) studied at the ArtEZ Hogeschool voor de Kunsten in Arnhem from 2000 to 2003 and at the Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam between 2004 and 2006. In 2007 she founded Orient Press, a publishing house for artist's books, in Berlin. She creates both her books and her exhibitions from analogue and digital as well as institutional and private archives. She cuts, collages, mounts, reproduces and paints over these pictures, so that they are transformed almost sculpturally, theatrically into ensembles of pictures, in discreet constellations. Altın participated at the last Berlin Biennale in 2018 and will exhibit at Istanbul Biennale in autumn. She has exhibited internationally for more than ten years: in 2015 the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam showed a monographic exhibition of her work and in 2010 she exhibited at Fondazione Morra Greco in Nepal. In 2019, Kunst Meran is dedicating a solo exhibition to her. Altın has taken part in many group exhibitions including Das Ende des 20. Jahrhunderts at Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin and Salon der Angst at Kunsthalle Wien in 2013. In Italy her work has been exhibited at venues including in 2010 the NOMAS Foundation in Rome and 2016 in the gallery SpazioA in Pistoia.

Lydia Hamann (born 1979) and Kaj Osteroth (born 1977) live in Berlin and Brandenburg. Kaj Osteroth studied under Stan Douglas at Berlin University of the Arts. In 2008 she completed her studies in Art History and Ethnology at the Freie Universität in Berlin. Lydia Hamann studied Art History and Cultural Studies before studying at the Weißensee Kunsthochschule in Berlin under Katharina Grosse, Antje Majewski and Judith Hopf. Since 2007 Hamann and Osteroth have been working as an artistic duo and questioning stereotyping attributions, dominant eurocentric fictions, their own experiences and the scope of collective practice. In 2019 they will take part in the exhibition entitled Histórias Feministas /Feminist Histories at MASP, São Paulo. They participated at the Berlin Biennale in 2018, and exhibited Feministischer Kunstunterricht at The Future is Female, a festival held at the Sophiensaele, Berlin in 2017. In 2015 they also exhibited at Unter Tage sind wir alle queer at the Kokerei Hansa in Dortmund.

Alice Peragine (born 1986, lives in Hamburg) studied under Michaela Melián at Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Hamburg until 2016. In 2010 she graduated from the University of Greifswald with a Bachelor of Arts in Art History /Fine Arts. In her often collective performative works, she deals with the relationship between body and gender in public space, power politics and strategies of control through structural violence and division. In her performances she explores the distance between everyday life and catastrophe. In 2019, she will be working with mobility and security technologies as part of an exhibition at Kunstverein Dresden (Dresden Art Association). Last year she was involved in a research project entitled Dear Humans (TU Dresden with the AltanaGalerie, Dresden) and exhibited at the Bangkok Biennial. In 2016 she took part in the Hamburg performance festival What Time Is It on the Clock of the World? She was also at the exhibition and symposium Don’t Touch, Touch Screen at Kunst-Werke Berlin in 2015. Since 2016, Alice Peragine has been working in various contexts with the Corporation of People’s Situations (COPS). As part of this cooperation she exhibited at the Transmediale festival and the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin in 2019, Künstlerhaus Dortmund in 2018, and Kunstverein Harburger Bahnhof in Hamburg in 2017.

Amelia Umuhire, born 1991 in Kigali Rwanda, lives as an artist and filmmaker in Berlin. In 2015 she wrote and filmed her first web series, Polyglot, in which she follows young deracinated London- and Berlin-based Rwandese artists with her camera. The series has been shown at numerous festivals, including the Festival D'Angers, the Tribeca Film Festival and the Geneva International Film Festival, where it was named Best International Web Series in 2015. Her short film Mugabo is an experimental short film set in Kigali. It explores the question of how to return to one´s homeland and how to deal with the past. In 2017 it was awarded Best Experimental Film at the Blackstar Film Festival and is currently touring festivals in North America and amongst others screened at MOCA Los Angeles, the MCA Chicago, the Ann Arbor Film Festival and the Smithsonian African American Film Festival. In 2018 Amelia Umuhire produced the radio feature Vaterland for the German radio station Deutschlandfunk Kultur. It tells the story of her father Innocent Seminega as a young student, teacher, husband and father until his death at the hands of the Hutu extremists. In February this year Umuhire had her first solo exhibition at Decad Berlin.

2020 is the first year in which an international Artist Research Fellowship will be awarded. This award is the result of a collaboration between the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institute and Villa Romana. It is intended to promote artistic research and takes the form of a proposed five-month residency in 2020. In future years, the Artist Research Fellowship will be expanded and will generate joint study and event formats between the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institute and the Villa Romana artists’ residence.

Esper Postma (born 1988 in Amsterdam, lives in Berlin) studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam and then under Willem de Rooij at the Städelschule in Frankfurt. In his installations, objects and videos, he explores the tension between collective identity and personal experience as well as the paradox that every form of representation is also a form of exclusion. In his 2018 exhibition at the Stadtmuseum Lindau, he addressed the ephemeral sexuality of mediaeval biblical figures. For the book European Bodies (2016), he and Maurits Koster investigated questions of European identity politics in a long-term research project using as a basis concepts such as a colonial museum in Sudan and texts allegedly written by a consulting firm. In the last years, Esper Postma exhibited at the Westfälischer Kunstverein in Münster, at Moira in Utrecht, and P/////AKT in Amsterdam. He has also participated at various conferences with talks and screenings.

The Villa Romana Fellowship includes a ten-month residency at Villa Romana in Florence, free use of an atelier and a monthly stipend. It is organised by the Villa Romana Society and funded by the Deutsche Bank Foundation and the German Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, as well as other private benefactors.

Villa Romana in Florence is a place of contemporary artistic production and international exchange. Since 1905, the core function of Villa Romana has been the Villa Romana Fellowship. It is often awarded to artists at the beginning of their careers and has thus co-written the history of modern art. Through exhibitions and a broad range of events Villa Romana interacts with producers and the public, placing itself on the international artistic scene and promoting communication with the cultures of the Mediterranean area.