Research at the Academy of Fine Arts
Research in the Uniarts Helsinki's Academy of Fine Arts has art and the artist at its core. Research subjects – whether embodied in the research question or the method, material or objective of research – cover the meaning, practices, techniques and methods of art, as well as the principles and institutional arrangements that determine the production, reception, training and application of art.
Mission and vision 2017-2020
The Doctoral Studies Programme is the home of doctoral training and research in the Academy of Fine Arts at University of the Arts Helsinki. It delineates and implements the research-oriented basic function of the Academy, which is to train artists and artist-researchers working in the field of art, and to conduct research in the field of the fine arts. The term ‘fine arts’ here refers to the areas of contemporary art that are represented in the Academy of Fine Arts. The research community in the Academy of Fine Arts is an academic community that comprises the doctoral students, teachers and researchers involved in the programme, along with administrative personnel. The Academy of Fine Arts conducts artistic research as well as research of contemporary art.
KuvA Research Days
The Doctoral Programme at the Academy of Fine Arts at Uniarts Helsinki arranges every year a public event called Research Days. During the days the public has an opportunity to participate in discussions about art and research generated by talks and performances by KuvAs Researchers and Doctoral Students as well as guest speakers they have invited.
Petri Kaverma: THE IMAGES OF LIFE AND DEATH (2015- )
In his research project, Petri Kaverma discusses death through the combination of a painting and a coffin. He will paint a work of art on a wooden board sized 2.2 m x 1.5 m, and the painting will be hung on a wall in the owner’s home. When the owner of the work passes away, the board will be dismantled, and the parts will be used to build a coffin in which the deceased will be buried. The remaining frame will be a work of art in its own right and, at the same time, a memory of a departed friend.
To perform and co-operate with plants and especially trees is an artistic research project, which develops and specifies the question how to perform landscape today, a question I have worked with in various forms during several years. The question is not rhetorical; our relationship to the environment has dramatically changed due to global warming and other more or less manmade disasters and demands new approaches. A posthumanist perspective prompts us to rethink the notion landscape and to consider how the surrounding world consists of creatures, life forms and material phenomena with varying degrees of volition, needs and agency. What forms of performing, realizing or activating landscape could be relevant in this situation? One possibility is to approach individual elements in a landscape, such as specific trees, and explore what can be done together with them, for instance how to perform for camera together.
Rethinking our relationship to the environment is a central task for artists today. Artistic research can contribute through its capacity to allow and to generate hybrid forms of thinking and acting. This project participates in the new materialist post-humanist discussion by way of a) developing artistic practices and producing art works that can critically question existing conventions and habits in our relationship to the environment and b) by theoretically reflecting, based on practical exploration, what it means to collaborate with plants and especially trees. The importance of the project rests ultimately on the importance of the plants themselves – they are producing the preconditions for life on the planet in its current oxygen based form.
I examine food as concrete matter and, at the same time, as a visual abstraction. My research will concentrate on food after it no longer serves its function as nourishment: It is past its “best before” date, inedible, and classified as waste but still interesting as such and not just material to be rejected. In my project, food is seen, from the viewpoints of Georges Bataille and Julia Kristeva, as abject, something uninviting yet attractive, and from the perspective of addictions, ritualism, sacrifice, and waste. The project will proceed experientially, combining gathering of data, processing of the artwork, and writing about the process. I will put together an archive of (dried and preserved) foods, which will be presented as a single installation. Never in the history of mankind has it been possible to access the current selection of foods produced in and transported from all corners of the globe. In the installation, I will include a variety of foods, from vegetables to edibles of animal origin, and from organic produce to processed and prepared foods. In the food collages, I will parallel the thought of interaction between different types of matter and of the relativity of their visual properties. My research will appear in two forms: as exhibitions and as a book titled RUOKA/FOOD, which will be published in connection with the exhibitions. The food archive will form a kind of an “archaeological” collection of the foods of our era. As a whole, I perceive the processes of life and death expressed by food as part of a field of interactions, powers, and energies that is constantly changing. In this field of change, we all eventually decompose and become nourishment for other forms of life in an endless cycle of matter.
My research looks for the epistemic in the making of pictorial representations. I argue that the implicit in visual perception could become manifest and explicated through visual practices. Visual knowledge is tied to the material practices of image making and it is ontologically inseparable of the process of its visual conception and medial translation. Embracing the notion of phenomenotechnics my project considers various imaging techniques and inscribing apparatuses as cognitive tools that provide us with contextual methods of aesthetic meaning-making. The study relies on artistic ways of knowing and it attempts to provide for a critical approach to the study of the phenomenal world.
In my post-doctoral research, I focus on the artist who is conducting research as a witness. I will deepen the themes of ethics and the border of the documentary and the fictional which I analysed in my doctoral thesis. Participatory art that engages the audience evokes ethical questions of power relations between the artist and the participant. How can an artist film others, tell their stories or use their contribution in her work, especially if the participant belongs to a minority or an oppressed group? The artist has power and a position of authority in relation to the participants. My research also explores how material produced by deceased persons, such as different kinds of archival material, can be utilised in artworks in an ethical manner.
Marjatta Oja (2018-2023)
Head of Doctoral Studies Programme, Vice dean, professor Mika Elo (2015-2020)
Professor Lea Kantonen (2016-2020)
University Lecturer Petri Kaverma
University researcher Denise Ziegler (2018-2021)
Post Doctoral Researcher Tero Heikkinen (2016-2018)
Visiting Researcher Annette Arlander (Professor 2016, Visiting Researcher 2017-2020)
Visiting Researcher Tuula Närhinen (2017-2021)
Visiting Researcher Timo Heino (2018-2020)
Visiting Researcher Marjatta Oja (2018-2021)
Visitin researcher Johanna Lecklin (2019-2022)
Doctoral trainee Stephanie Misa (2017-2019)
Doctoral trainee Ilya Orlov (2017-2020)
Doctoral trainee Pilvari Pirtola (2018-2019)
Research Coordinator Michaela Bränn tel: + 358 40 631 3553
Study Coordinator Jukka Tuominen tel: + 358 50 4706996
Professor Michael Schwab (2016-2017)
Professor Alex Arteaga (2017)
University Researcher Jan Kaila (2015-2017)
University Researcher Jyrki Siukonen (2016-2017)
Doctoral trainee Jaakko Ruuska (2017)