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Scenography for the study year 2024/2025

Admission Examination

Online registration and upload at: from February 1st until February 29th 2024

The admission examination aims to ascertain whether somebody is sufficiently talented for the central artistic subject.

The examination consists of two parts.

Admission examination WS 2024/25

1st part:

  1. Introduce yourself briefly and describe why you want to study stage design (max. one A4 page)
  2. Submit a digital portfolio of five works
  3. The topic of the assignment is called: TEN

James Benning (*1942) is an American filmmaker and artist. His work, which deals with landscapes and spaces (social conditions and environments), as well as with time and duration, is based on an attitude of close observation and careful listening.

His works are characterized by an apparent simplicity which, however, turns out to be extremely complex when viewed attentively. Ten Skies (2004) was shot on 16mm and developed for the cinema. As 16mm material is only available on 10-minute rolls, this restriction determines the rhythm of the film. 10 skies, 10 minutes each. The visual and sound levels of the film create a context that makes the viewer think about nature, light, pollution, God, reflections, clouds, the course of the day and much more. All sequences were shot near his house ("I shot it in my backyard"). This work is juxtaposed with a kind of twin film entitled 13 Lakes (2004), which takes the play with different levels of meaning much further. The documentary linked below shows Benning working on the latter film, among other things.

The assignment: As a starting point, watch the movie Ten Skies by US American filmmaker James Benning (

Develop a series of 10 motifs (drawings, photographs or models - not necessarily a film). These selected motifs should develop one or more levels of meaning for the viewer, which tell a story beyond that of the pure choice of motif.

You are welcome to explain your work in a short text (no longer than half a DIN A4 page).

An example to illustrate the task: 10 apples could be developed as follows: You could line up an apple in ten different rooms, environments or backgrounds, in such a way that these different motifs then create a further level of meaning: e.g.: an apple on a tree, an apple in a supermarket, a cut apple, a crushed apple, a rotten apple, a jar of apple sauce, 10 people, perhaps of different ethnic or social backgrounds, eating an apple, etc.

The choice of motifs (e.g. 10 cities, 10 views from the window, 10 cafés, etc.), the story you want to tell with them, and the theme that the 10 motifs should ultimately illustrate is entirely up to you.

Here are some links to James Benning (there is of course a lot more information to discover on the Internet) 

Submittal of the text, the portfolio and the assignment from February 1st until February 29th 2024 at 

Please submit your files in pdf format and mark each file with your family name. E.g.: Introduction_Xxx, Portfolio_Xxx, Assignment_Xxx

Candidates eligible for the admission examination will be notified by E-Mail on the 12th of March (7 p.m.) 2024.

2nd part:

  • Only for candidates admitted to the 2nd part:
  • From Monday, June 24st through Thursday, June 27st, 2024 at the Scenography Department, Lehargasse 8, 3rd floor, A-1060 Vienna

Only candidates who pass both parts of the exam will be admitted to study at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.

Announcement of the candidates admitted: Thursday, June 27, after 7.00 p.m. by E-Mail

The Academy of Fine Arts Vienna actively supports the application of people with disabilities and strives to create an admission examination as accessible as possible. Applicants may contact the responsible person, Christina Fasching in the Student Welcome Center with their questions via email to

Language Competency

Language requirements for the admission exam: The admission exam can be done either in German or English. Applicants who do not speak English or German can bring a translator to the oral exam (interview with the professors), detailed information will be submitted within the admission procedure.

Language requirements for students: After passing the admission exam and enrolling as a regular student/degree student, our students have two semesters time to achieve German on level B2. Before enrolling for the third semester (after one year of studies), our students have to prove German knowledge by presenting an official certificate for level B2 at our Registrar’s Office or by passing the Academy’s German course for level B2.
For further information see:

As a major part of our courses/lectures are held in German or German/English, it is essential to speak and understand German.