Denise Ziegler

  • Yliopistotutkija, Taiteellinen tutkimus Kuvataideakatemia, Avoin kampus
    Tuntiopettaja, Erikoistumisopinnot, Avoin kampus
  • +358504080197


Denise Ziegler is a Helsinki based visual artist and researcher of public space.  Doctorate at Academy of Fine Arts Helsinki (DFA 2010). Theses title: Features of the Poetic – The Mimetic Practice of the Visual Artist. 

I question the concepts of urban space and public art. Instead of interrogating people and involving them in the process, the interventions put questions directly to public infrastructure, to walls, fences, buildings and pedestrian ways. In a post-Beuysian vein, an artist workshop is extended to public space in order to work with its mechanisms and possibilities. D.Z.

Tutkimus ja julkaisut

Towards a Pedagogy of Contemporary Art Practices (2021–2023, 2 y.)

Teaching at university level art schools as artistic practice and as experience research.

Towards a Pedagogy of Contemporary Art Practices is a research project that explores, documents and analyses experiential situations in contemporary art making, art teaching and artistic research in university level art schools. Methodologically I will build my research on my artistic practice and previous work done in the frame of collaborative projects like Microreview, a working group of the Swiss Artistic Research Network (SARN)[1] and Continues Prototype.[2]

A theoretical framework of this project is followed through experience research, urban studies research, philosophical anthropology as well as through research on the origin of an artwork, on the reason why an artwork has come into existence in connection to artistic research.

The aim of the project is to raise awareness of and augment knowledge about the distinctive pedagogy that has been developing in the last decades in university level art education, especially in fine arts. In this pedagogy, teaching activity stems from the individual artistic practice of the teachers. As an institutionalized artistic practice, teaching art at university level art schools has to continuously deconstruct and reinvent its relation to the institution.[3] The project investigates artists’ teaching practice at university level art schools as artmaking and as artistic research activity and tries to formulate a pedagogy of contemporary art practices in order to critically develop not only different artistic practices but also the institution it is affiliated with.  

The research questions are: What are artists doing when they teach at university level art schools? How is this activity connected to the making public of art and artistic research?


[2] DA Tero Heikkinen, DFA Petri Kaverma and DFA Denise Ziegler – have been collaborating as an independent research group on the theme of the continuous prototype since 2017.

[3] Kirkkopelto E. 2015. Artistic Research as Institutional Practice. AR Yearbook 2015 Swedish Research Council

2018–2021 Reconsidering Prototype

The Continuous Prototype research method offers possibilities for reading and developing public space

My artistic research tests what future situation a given situation found in our present surroundings could be a prototype of. Prototype thinking uses the imagination to reverse the timeline: an existing situation provides clues for deducing a possible future situation for which it could the starting point or prototype. In this experimental setup, the artwork reveals the prototypical potential of what already exists. Launched by the imagination, the continuous prototype can reveal what public urban space actually consists of and how we experience it. My hypothesis is that as a person traversing and experiencing public urban space, I am the city. By this I mean that every user of public space has valid experiential knowledge of his or her surroundings.

The concept of the continuous prototype was developed in dialogue with colleagues. An independent artist group consisting of Petri Kaverma, Tero Heikkinen and myself has considered questions shared by fine art and design, especially questions concerning the origin of both artworks and products of design. The results of these ongoing discussions include a co-written article (in Finnish) for the journal Tiede & Edistys 2018 (4/2017). In my work I also implement the discussions on a material level including aspects of space and time. In this way I seek to analyse the present state of urban space and to influence and contribute to new interpretations about it. In the process I suggest among other things a re-evaluation of the meaning and status given to public artworks.


Yhä Osuvammin / More and More to the Point. Mika Elo and Denise Ziegler (eds.). The Academy of Fine Arts at the University of the Arts, Helsinki 2021.

Julkisen tilan taiteen tilasta – Puheenvuoroja julkisen taiteen konteksteista, toim. Pekkilä, Sirke; Kaverma, Petri; Lampela, Kalle; Nisunen, Petteri; Ziegler, Denise. Taideyliopisto 2021

Applause – Experiencing Urban SpaceDenise Ziegler, article in the electronical journal Research in Art Education 1/2020, Special Issue: Research in Art and Experience

 I Experience as I Experiment – I Experiment as I Experience, ed. Denise Zigeler, (Academy of Fine Arts at the University of the Arts, 2019) ISBN 978-952-353-402-5

On Temporary Routines, Article in the boock Sculpture Expended – Moving Laboratory of Public Art in Helsinki,. (Assosiation of Finnish Sculptors, Parus Versus, 2019) ISBN 978-952-7245-10-1

Interventio kaupunkitilaan /Intervention to Urban Space – ExperimentalIntervention as a Tool For Artistic Research and EducationAnna Jensen, Taina Rajanti, Denise Ziegler, suom ja engl. (Aalto ARTS Books, Finland, 2018) ISBN 978-952-60-7792-5


Artistic Research – Continuous Prototype Article in finnish in the journal Tiede & Edistys 4/2017, Tero Heikkinen, Petri Kaverma, Denise Ziegler. 2018

A Cinematographic Fence and Ornamental Oars – Experiencing the Sublime in Structures of Urban Public Space,article in the electronical journalApproaching Religion Volume 6/ 2 (December 2016) article:                                                                                                                              

A City Never Lies – Situational irony and the political impact of public urban space

Ruukku – published in artistic research -journal 

A City Never Lies – Situational irony as a key to address public urban space,Denise Ziegler, published in: Research in Arts – Irony, Critique and Assimilation of the Methods (edited. José Quaresma, Alys Longley, Fernando Rosa Dias, Auckland, New Zealand, 2015)

Poeettisen piirteistä – kuvataiteilijan mimeettinen työskentelytapa, D.Ziegler, Kuvataideakatemia, 2010

Features of the Poetic  – The Mimetic Method of the Visual Artist, D. Ziegler, Kuvataideakatemia, 2010

Nyren & Pyramiden, D.Ziegler / Mikko Maasalo / Peter Holmgård, omakustanne, Helsinki, 2007

Runokartta, saatteeksi julkiseen teokseen Epigrammeja Helsingin kaupungin Jalankulkijoille(1999) Opaskartta tulkitsee suomen kieleen pohjautuvat teokset viidellä eri kielellä, omakustanne, Helsinki 1999 

Muistamisen arvoista, D. Ziegler / S. Sprenger, omakustanne, Helsinki, 1999


  • public art
  • public space
  • sculptor
  • experientality
  • conceptual art
  • image and text
  • installation
  • artistic research
  • experimentality
  • experimental intervention