It was 23 September and the big day had arrived – up-and-coming artists were eager to find out which painters had won the item Art Prize.
Our branch in Ulm regularly hands out awards to promising talented young artists from the German painting scene. All conceivable painting techniques are allowed, the only condition is that the work is related to the chosen theme. This year’s theme was “Unlimited possibilities”, which reflects the modular nature of our components on the one hand and gives the artists the greatest possible freedom on the other. “Ich kann nicht” (I can not ), a self-portrait by Kerstin Kraus, won first prize in two out of three categories. The panel of judges, comprising the 30 nominees for the competition, put the work in first place with a clear lead and the public attending the preview also preferred this piece. The winner of the “item Staff Award” category is Ana Lena Sprandel, who studied free arts at the University of the Arts Bremen and submitted a painting titled “Girl Painting”. However, our love of the arts extends far beyond this competition.
A quarter century of supporting art
It was item employee Konrad Mock who first nurtured the company’s commitment to promoting the arts. With a background as a trained art historian, he had previously run a gallery and therefore had excellent contacts in the art world. When he was asked in 1991 to organise the opening ceremony for our Ulm site, he turned it into a small but perfectly formed art event that was extremely well received by the guests. He demonstrated such outstanding organisational skills that he was promptly appointed as head of logistics for the site. However, his passion for the arts has not suffered at all, and he continues to play a leading role in all our art activities, which slot seamlessly into the cultural, charitable and sports sponsorship endeavours at item.
Thanks to his excellent connections, Mock was able to stage repeated individual and group exhibitions. “There is a close link between art and technology. Besides that, art is a perfect fit for item. Outstanding product quality is hugely important to us, particularly when it comes to aesthetics. What’s more, the public and operational spaces here are always very clean and offer an amazing venue for showcasing art,” emphasises Mock. In 2002, the exhibitions were replaced by the Art Prize programme. After the prize-giving ceremony, all the works can be viewed at the Ulm branch for around 12 weeks and anyone interested can also purchase them commission-free. However, the prize-winning paintings go straight into the impressive item art collection, which is constantly growing with new acquisitions.
Works of art at all sites
When a work of art is added to the item collection, it isn’t hidden away in some vault somewhere, it is circulated through our branches as a concrete expression of our passion for aesthetics and an extra element to enrich the working environment. Often, members of staff will be irresistibly drawn to a particular painting in the gallery website and can find out whether it can be made available to their site. Visitors to the product exhibition in Ulm also enjoy dipping their toes into the world of the arts as an added extra. As far as Mock is concerned, there is no end in sight for the love affair between engineering and painting: “When the Art Prize is announced, we always get a large number of submissions, because we’ve built ourselves a certain reputation. In the last two years, we also attracted an audience of more than 500, which is remarkable.”
Do you want to stay up to date on everything item is doing around the world?
It couldn’t be easier – simply subscribe to the item blog by completing the box at the top right!