Thursday 20 March 2014

University of Applied Arts Vienna

When I think about my life, there are a few things I would do differently if I had a chance. One is that I would study ceramics at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. Every time I visit Vienna, I catch myself sneaking through its studios. The huge ceramic atelier with a high ceiling is situated at the ground floor of a beautiful old brick-facade building at the Oskar Kokoschka-Platz. The ceramic studio is filled with light and a good portion of artistic flair.

There is a big area with pottery wheels and working tables, a separate room for the plaster mould making, glazing and a kiln room in the basement. The floors are full of clay dust. The shelves are filled with moulds and pots. 

I wanted to make a few photos of the atelier so I asked for permission. Instead of a quick sneak inside, I started a very nice conversation with ceramicists who work there. When I told them how much I wanted to study there, they explained me that the Institute of Ceramic Arts has been shut.

It is no longer possible to study ceramics at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. The same happened with classical sculpture. The only reason the ceramic atelier is still there is to support other departments such as a design. How could that happen? Am I such an old fashioned person that I just don’t understand the importance of the rise of digital media and gender studies? 

Well, the world is changing and I have to accept it. However, every time I visit the ceramic studio at the University of Applied Arts I have to think of the grand dame of ceramics Lucie Rie. She had studied ceramics in these exact rooms. 

I just hope that this ceramics atelier remains as it is: full of clay, dust, plaster, arts and history.