Each department nominates their best thesis. Under supervision of Alice Twemlow, lector Design at the KABK, a committee decides which master graduate has written the best thesis of 2018. The winner receives € 500,-.

Thanks to: Stichting tot Steun.


in alphabetical order of department

Artistic Research - Valentino Russo, The Sweet Escape

ArtScience - Koenraad L. de Groot, SISE

Interior Architecture - Goda Verikaite, how to recycle utopia + 10 stories how to inhabit utopia

Type and Media - Lisa Huang, Caasloon – a revival of Mediaeval, a revival of Caslon

And the winner is... Valentino Russo

Master Artistic Research

Valentino Russo winner MA Thesis Award
Valentino Russo, photo Katarina Juričić

This was a unanimous winner. The jurors believe this to be a fantastic example of a thesis that represents both a personal quest on the part of the author to come to terms with the philosophical complexity of what it is to create as an artist and as a human being, but also one that, through deep and challenging insights, makes a significant contribution to knowledge and expands the discourse of the artistic research paradigm.

Russo explores the dichotomy between the human urge to define, to systematize, to inscribe events in structures and form meaningful narratives in order to make sense of existence, and on the other hand, the desire and need for escape, rupture, and the possibility for things to be arbitrary and senseless. Russo takes us with him on an intellectually thrilling journey between these two poles of the human condition and leaves us with the suggestion that holistic meta discourses might present a way out of the nihilistic feedback loop of contemporary culture.

The argument is conveyed in vivid, humorous and engaging prose and proceeds in a spiraling rather than linear motion, through art history, literature, popular culture, altered states of mind, drugs and dreams.

‘Linguistic systems supply the means to communicate, genetics accounts for its origins, dream theories sort out the images that populate our sleep, cybernetics predicts systems, drugs produce unpredictability—philosophical investigations to “pass from disguised nonsense to patent nonsense”, 0 and 1 for solid answers, Postmodernism for silly questions—frames to hold some sense, the unconscious to let go of it, Holism to see connections, art to think out of the box, the art world to make boxes. “Meta” to go beyond all that and, like the fish, to keep remembering that “this is water”’.
Quote from winning Masters thesis

Maria Pask, artist, tutor at KABK Fine Arts department and PhDArts supervisor
Irene Müller, curator/head Registrar Department at Museum Voorlinden
Chair: Alice Twemlow, KABK Design Lector and Associate Professor at Leiden University