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U.Va. Student Wins Nationwide Berlin Wall Art Competition

January 11, 2009 — Andrew Salmon, a third-year studio art and foreign affairs major at the University of Virginia, recently won first place in an art contest sponsored by the German Embassy and German Information Center for his sculpture, "Without Walls."

The contest was part of "Freedom Without Walls," a commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall held in late September at more than 30 college campuses across the United States.

The jury of German Embassy staff selected the top five works for recognition from 15 entries ranging from mixed media sculptures to vivid graffiti. The award was announced Dec. 18.

The embassy letter notifying Salmon of the award said, "The competition was very stiff, the jury found your sculpture uniquely impressive in both its conception and execution. You managed to communicate the emotional and physical brutality of the wall without resorting to the easy iconography of the cold war. The jury was also impressed with the fine details you included in this relatively large scale work."

Salmon, who is from Arlington, won a four-night trip to Berlin for two, which he plans to take during U.Va.'s spring break in March.

"Berlin is one of the art capitals today. I am really fortunate to get to go there," he said.

In addition to art, Salmon plans to take in the city's architecture, including visits to the Reichstag, the new German Parliament designed by architect Norman Foster; and the Jewish Museum, designed by Daniel Libeskind. "The modern architecture is extremely sculptural, incorporating concepts of light and transparency," Salmon said.

Salmon created his design in studio art professor William Bennett's Introduction to Sculpture class. Each student proposed a design and the class voted on two, which were then submitted to the University's Berlin Wall project. The class worked as a team to create Salmon's sculpture, a 4-foot by 8-foot wall panel plaster casting created from a clay mold that weighs nearly 1,000 pounds. The piece was displayed in the McIntire Amphitheater.

"My intent was to create a feeling of the wall coming down, but still being present," Salmon said.

Salmon's sculpture and small works created by other class members will be on display at Hereford College starting in February.

— By Jane Ford

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