TALKING (ABOUT) IMAGES: Artists

The Cool Couple (often abbreviated to TCC ) is a Milan-based artist duo established in 2012 by Niccolò Benetton (1986) and Simone Santilli (1987). Their research focuses on the friction points that are generated daily in the relationship between people and images. The idea that images act as active hubs in a network, combined with a strong emphasis on production, results in the use of several forms of expression, ranging from fine art photography to electrostatic wipes, meditation rooms and Chinese cover‐bands. TCC’s works have been exhibited internationally at Centro di Cultura Contemporanea Strozzina, Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa, Unseen Photo Festival, Centquatre, Les Rencontres des Arles, MACRO Museum. They were selected by Fotomuseum, Winterthur for Plat(t)form 2015. TCC received the Premio Fabbri for contemporary photography in 2014, the Premio Graziadei in 2015, the Premio Gruppo Euromobil Under 30 2017 and the Premio Fotografia under 40 Art Verona. Niccolò and Simone co‐founded the cover band Rui & the Rainbow Dragons. Severin Hirsch was born in Celje, Slovenia (then Yugoslavia), she attended the School of Design, Graphics and Photography in Ljubljana. Based in Graz since 2003, she worked as photographer and restorer before she started to
investigate in the field of the arts and completed the Meisterschule für Kunst und Gestaltung/Malerei with Professor Erwin Talker in 2013 in Graz. She works between media art, installation and painting. Her photographic works deal with social change and change of values. Her artwork was honoured with the Art Promotion Award of the city of Graz in 2016.

Severin Hirsch was born in Celje, Slovenia (then Yugoslavia), she attended the School of Design, Graphics and Photography in Ljubljana. Based in Graz since 2003, she worked as photographer and restorer before she started to investigate in the field of the arts and completed the Meisterschule für Kunst und Gestaltung/Malerei with Professor Erwin Talker in 2013 in Graz. She works between media art, installation and painting. Her photographic works deal with social change and change of values. Her artwork was honoured with the Art Promotion Award of the city of Graz in 2016.

Kate Howlett-Jones was born in 1971 and grew up in London. Following a Master’s in French and Russian literature at the University of Oxford (1989‐1993), she moved to Austria in 1999. Since then she has been active in Graz as a text artist and writer. In 2013 she co‐founded The Daily Rhythms Collective, a platform for international, interdisciplinary woman artists based in Graz. Recent exhibitions and public space projects include Shifting Constellations (Minoriten Graz 2015), Rose of the Winds (Sarajevo, Trieste, Graz 2015), Verfolgt, beraubt, vertrieben (rotor 2016), sublim (esc medien kunst labor 2016), Stories from the Edge (MLZ Trieste, Galerie Kortilj and Kunsthaus Graz 2016), steirischer herbst 2016, Erzählungen der Ankungsstadt (rotor 2016). She works between text, objects and installation. Her works deal with the artistic dynamics of language and narrative as they interact with visualization and space. 

Neža Knez was born in Ljubljana in 1990. In 2014 she graduated in Sculpture at Academy of Fine Arts and Design, where she is currently studying a master’s program under the mentorship of professor Jože Barši. She works with different media, such as audio, video, photography, with her own body or with the bodies of other, drawings and classical sculpture. She is the recipient of prominent awards: Recognition for outstanding academic achievements, Award for outstanding academic achievements Academy of Fine Arts, University of Ljubljana, Award for an innovative approach to the graphic arts, Prešern's award of Academy of Fine Arts and she was nominated for important award OHO (the prize was established in 2006 by the P.A.R.A.S.I.T.E. Institute (Ljubljana) in cooperation with the Foundation for a Civil Society (New York). Her art practice is represented at home and abroad, with cooperation on residency or with exhibitions.

Maryam Mohammadi is a documentary and staged photographer. She hold a Ph.D. in Visual communication and Photography at the JEP university. She taught at Tehran University of Arts for many years, and has exhibited widely in Iran and in Europe. She has lived in Graz since 2009, where she received the city Art Funds Prize. Her work focuses on how social, cultural and religious conditions at both local and global levels affect women. Also, how these effects are inscribed into their biographies and identities. Occasionally she is also an illustrative object to reflect her process of socialization in different societal systems. For the last few years she has worked in intercultural youth centers, feminist adult education, women and migrants counseling. Since 2015 she has been part of the Graz Women’s Council. Nika Rukavina was born in 1980 in Rijeka, Croatia, where she lives and works. She holds a BA in sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice and works in different media from performance, installations, painting, sculpture and video. Her primary interest is trying to find a different perspective on commonly accepted views. She has exhibited at: Kunsthaus, Graz, Austria; Magazzini del Sale, Venice, Italy; Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Rijeka, Croatia; Pyramida,
Tirana, Albania; Cultural Center, Belgrade, Serbia; Blaenau Ffestiniog, Wales, UK; Gallery A+A, Venice, Italy; Gallery Bevilacqua La Masa, Venice, Italy; Gallery Nuova Icona, Venice, Italy. She is one of the winners of the Ivo Kalina Award, the city of Rijeka art award for the best exhibition in 2009 (VIA international art project).

Alessandro Sambini (Rovigo, 1982) lives and works in Milan, where he moved after graduating in Art & Design at Libera Università in Bolzano and further to completing an MA in Research Architecture at the Visual Cultures department of Goldsmiths College, University of London. In Milan, he started working with images, video and mixed media, exploring the needs and modalities that regulate the production of new images, their circulation and dissemination, and the various relationships that exist between the image itself and its viewers. His works have been exhibited in major museums such as MUSEION, FORMA, MUFOCO, MAST, MA*GA, Triennale di Milano and at the Kunsthaus in Graz. He was selected by Fotomuseum, Winterthur for Plat(t)form 2017. 

Christoph Szalay was born in 1987 in Graz. He studied German (Language & Literature) at Karl‐Franzens University Graz and Art in Context at University of Arts Berlin. Writer, performer, curator. Recent works include: SPACE=WOW (BUT I STILL MISS YOU, EARTH), publication at Spacecrag Press 2017 as well as a performed piece at Minoriten Graz and Musiktheatertage Wien, Werk X, 2017 / When I think of Palace, threepart lecture at Forum Stadtpark&Steirischer Herbst 2016 / Re-Considering Trieste or OH, HOW I WANTED TO BE YOUR BABY (but you wouldn't let me), limited publication of 100 pieces for the AiR Trieste 2016 / Alex&der Mond, children's book with drawings by Lisa‐Maria Wagner, Lugschacht 2016.