Photo: Elmar Vestner
Elmgreen & Dragset.

Saastamoinen Foundation Keynote Lecture by the curators of the Istanbul Biennial will open the spring term of the Academy of Fine Arts

The artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset will come to Helsinki on 11 January to give a lecture at the Academy of Fine Arts’ Exhibition Laboratory venue. 

Elmgreen & Dragset often work in public or semi-public spaces and their works take  a simultaneously tragic and humorous approach to themes as public space, identity, power, and geopolitics. Their most recent works include the massive sculpture Van Gogh’s Ear in front of Rockefeller Center in New York City. The duo is fairly high-flying in many respects at the moment, as they were selected to curate the 2017 Istanbul Biennial. 

The artist duo is made up of Michael Elmgreen (b. 1961, Copenhagen, Denmark) and Ingar Dragset (b. 1969, Trondheim, Norway).  Elmgren & Dragset's collaboration is representative of contemporary practice in that they pursue dual roles as artists and curators. The works of the duo have been exhibited in the most renowned art biennials in the world and in numerous international exhibitions since the beginning of the 2000s, and the exhibitions they have curated include the Scandinavian Pavilion in the Venice Biennale in 2009.They have worked together since 1995 and live in Berlin.

The Elmgreen & Dragset lecture is the second lecture in the Saastamoinen Foundation Keynote Lecture series. The series opened in January 2015 with Okwui Enwezor, the Director of Haus der Kunst in Munich and the curator of the 2015 Venice Biennale. In addition to the lecture he gave at the Exhibition Laboratory, Enwezor met with students from the Academy of Fine Arts to see and discuss their works. 

The students in the Master’s phase at the Academy of Fine are getting ready for the visit by Elmgreen & Dragset in many ways, for example the workshop led by Anssi Pulkkinen and Taneli Rautiainen, in which the works of the artist duo are explored.

The Academy of Fine Arts, University of the Arts Helsinki invites internationally eminent and widely recognised professionals from the field of arts: artists, curators, writers and key thinkers who have influenced the contemporary arts. The lectures are organised once a year with support provided from the Saastamoinen Foundation and they are a part of the collaboration between the Foundation and the Academy of Fine Arts, with the goal of promoting international activities of highest degree in fine arts education. 

Elmgreen & Dragset: Saastamoinen Keynote Lecture 11/1/2017 at 6 pm. Exhibition Laboratory, Merimiehenkatu 36, 00150 Helsinki. No admission fee.