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Villa Romana prizewinners announced for 2011
Five artists receive the renowned grant to stay at the artists' house in Florence

Nora Schultz, Rebecca Ann Tess, Vincent Vulsma, Thomas Kilpper, and Henrik Olesen are the winners of the 2011 Villa Romana Prize. At their meeting on July 17, this year's jurors – Kathrin Rhomberg, curator of the 6th Berlin Biennial, and the Berlin-based artist and professor at the Städelschule Willem de Rooij – selected the artists from ten proposed candidates.

The Villa Romana Prize is connected with a ten-month stay at the Villa Romana artists' house in Florence, a free studio, and a monthly stipend. Thomas Kilpper (February to June) and Henrik Olesen (July to November) will each receive a grant for five months in 2011, during which time they can stay and work at the Villa Romana.

The painter Max Klinger purchased the Villa Romana in 1905 to provide artists with a generous working situation in Florence. The Villa Romana Prize is not only the oldest German art prize, but also the longest-standing instance of cultural commitment on the part of Deutsche Bank. The prize is offered by the Villa Romana Association and funded by the Deutsche Bank Foundation, the Federal Commissioner for Culture and Media, and additional private sponsors. Its purpose is to give outstanding young artists the opportunity to concentrate on their artistic development during a prolonged stay in Florence. The Villa Romana prizewinners are named by each year by changing jurors.

Nora Schultz, born in 1975, studied at the Städelschule Frankfurt and now lives in Berlin. Her objects, installations, and performances are characterized by a pronounced formal grammar that combines the gravity of objects with their fragility to convey meaning. In recent years Nora Schultz has exhibited internationally, including at the Cologne Kunstverein in 2009, at the "Art Statement" of Art Basel, and at Dependance, Brussels (2008).

Rebecca Ann Tess, born in 1980, studied at the UdK Berlin and at the Städelschule in Frankfurt, where she lives. In her films and video installations she works with fictive trailers and found footage material to investigate stereotypes and power relationships of public visual media and mass media. Her works have been on view at Portikus and the Frankfurter Kunstverein, and she had an exhibition at the Neuer Aachener Kunstverein in 2010.

Vincent Vulsma, born in 1982 in Zaandam/the Netherlands, studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie and resides in Berlin. He works with ready-mades and painting, reflecting both self-referential and sociopolitical parameters and abstractions. He is represented at the current Berlin Biennial.

Thomas Kilpper, born in 1956, studied at the art academies in Nuremberg, Düsseldorf, and Frankfurt am Main. He lives in Berlin. Last year he dealt with 20th-century German history in a complex way, using the 800 square meter flooring of the former Ministry of State Security in Berlin as a material for linocuts. Thomas Kilpper's work has been shown at the South London Gallery, at the Generali Foundation in Vienna, at the Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, and at the Badischer Kunstverein in Karlsruhe. He runs the author gallery After the Butcher in Berlin-Lichtenberg.

Henrik Olesen, born in 1967 in Esbjerg/Denmark, studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen and at the Städelschule in Frankfurt and now lives in Berlin. In his collages, sculptures, and installations he explores the categorization and ostracism of minorities in the context of history, society, and art institutions. Olesen has been shown in many international exhibitions. His work has been exhibited at MACBA Barcelona, the Warsaw Museum of Modern Art, and the Venice Biennale. This autumn he will participate in the Gwangju Biennial in Korea.

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