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Michaela Melián

Michaela Melián, Professor of Mixed Media / Acoustics

Michaela Melián, who previously taught at the HFBK Hamburg as a visiting professor from 2006 to 2008, accepted an appointment as professor in the department of Time-based Media in 2010.

Melián, born in 1956 in Munich, initially studied music (at the Richard-Strauss-Konservatorium in Munich and at other institutions), before studying art at the Münchener Akademie der Bildenden Künste and in London. In the 1980, she began to sing and to play bass with the band F.S.K. (Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle), and from 1980 onwards she was co-editor of the literary magazineMode und Verzweiflung. As a musician, she has also produced several independent albums. In addition to her activities at the HFBK Hamburg, Melián has previous experience of teaching at the Münchener Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Munich, and at the ETH Zürich, department for Art and Architecture.

In her artistic work, Melián develops many-layered fields of memory, manufacturing complex contexts from contentual references and quotations. She once described her method asa politics of memory. Melián’s artworks are preceded by intensive research. From a multiplicity of diverse narrative strands, the artist creates narrative arcs that contrast historic facts with private memories and histories. She combines objects, photographs, films, music and texts to create cross-genre installations and audiovisual projects whose interactions and references reach deep into the sociopolitical and historical context.

In 2010, Melián was awarded the prestigious Kunstpreis der Stadt München by the City of Munich. Her acoustic memorial to the victims of National Socialism in Munich,Memory Loops, was also unveiled in 2010; it was declared theaudioplay of the year 2010 by the Deutsche Akademie der Darstellenden Künste. This audio artwork comprises 300 German and 175 English tracks, made available for listening and for downloading at In this project, Melián lays the voices of the National Socialists’ victims and witnesses over the city as a permanent, invisible installation, forming a kind of virtual grid that will always be a part of the city. The sound files can be compiled into a personal memory loop on a mobile phone or MP3 player, and followed, on an individual basis, through the city. In 2011, Michaela Melián was awarded the art prize of the City of Nordhorn.

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Selected Solo Exhibitions:

2011–12 Städtische Galerie Nordhorn
2010 Rathausgalerie München, Kunsthalle
2009 Lentos Museum, Linz; glasmoog / KHM, Köln; Ludlow 38, New York
2008 Cubitt Gallery, London; Ulmer Museum, Ulm; Galerie Karin Guenther, Hamburg
Gruppenausstellungen (Auswahl):
Selected Group Exhibitions:
2010 Home Less Home, Contemporary Art Museum on the Seam, Jerusalem
2009 The Dwelling, ACCA Melbourne, Australien; See the Sound, Lentos Museum Linz; Recollecting, MAK Wien; Made in Munich, Haus der Kunst München
2008 Vertrautes Terrain, ZKM Karlsruhe; Art On Air, Museum Weserburg, Bremen; Pop Goes The Weasel, Kunstverein Karlsruhe
2007 Talkshow, Tranzit Bratislava; Multispeak, Witte Zaal, Gent
Latest Awards:
2011 Kunstpreis der Stadt Nordhorn
2010 Kunstpreis der Stadt München
2009 Hörspiel des Jahres der Deutschen Akademie der darstellenden Künste