The Art Academy

Image above: Ballon Head Horse - Sandro Masai / performance course 2020

The Art Academy – Department of Contemporary Art fosters an active and international educational environment that places the individual student’s artistic practice into focus. Students have the opportunity to explore a wide range of artistic expressions and develop through hands-on production, tutoring and critical discussions. The department has an open structure that allows students to pursue their interests and experiment across disciplinary boundaries. Our eight focus areas are: painting and drawing, sculpture and installation, ceramics and clay, time-based art and performance, new media (audio/video), textiles, printmaking, and photography. Students can choose to specialise in one or more of these areas. The department has its own theory programme at both the bachelor’s and the master’s level. Our BA programme attracts students from all over Scandinavia, while our MA programme in Fine Art and Curatorial Practice enrols students from across the world. The Art Academy recruits research fellows affiliated with the Artistic Research Fellowship Programme (PKU).

Individual tutoring and group instruction are central to the department’s strategy and practice, incorporating both discussion, reflection and critique. Subjects for discussion range from materials and concepts to the relationship between theory and practice to artistic quality. Our aim is to equip students with the necessary conceptual tools to achieve a balance between production and reflection.

The department has excellent workshop facilities that are used both in teaching and artistic research. Our teaching staff is composed of a broad range of professionals who are active in Norway’s art scene and abroad. This is a prerequisite for promoting a living educational environment within the department. The artistic research of the staff lies at the core of our educational programme. Artistic research includes both the faculty members’ individual artistic work and joint thematic projects. Currently, several major artistic research projects are headed by our professors (Synsmaskinen,Topographaphies of the Obsolete).

We cooperate with leading institutions on the local, national and international level. In recent years we have collaborated on projects together with Bergen Assembly, Bergen Kunsthall and The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design.


Study Programmes


Focus Areas

The Department of Fine Art has core expertise in eight focus areas: photography, graphics, ceramics and clay, painting and drawing, new media (audio/video), performance/time-based art, sculpture and installation, and textiles.


The focus area photography helps to develop the necessary language to work with images critically and technically within the framework of contemporary culture. It encourages experimentation with a broad range of media and platforms without neglecting historical and political concerns regarding representation and mechanical reproduction.

The Professors in the focus area of Photography, together with a broad range of scholars and artists, work closely with students to push their individual vision and ideas towards a contextualized and personal art practice. Together we pursue an ongoing investigation of the current shifts in circulation, distribution and production of images as well as concerns regarding their authorship, censorship, medium, value system, manipulation, frame, illusion, and narrative. In turn, these inquires will be transformed into still, moving, digital, analog, published, textual, painted, sculptured, spoken, projected, and/or performed artworks.

The focus area of Photography is committed to provide the necessary technical support, photographic equipment and facilities to accompany and encourage the important questioning and experimentation with supposedly obsolete technologies as well as with those that are yet to come.




The focus area Printmaking centres on developing art projects based on new and old printing techniques.

Graphic techniques, from woodcut to Xerox copies, have been developed to reproduce text and images on paper. The word ‘graphics’ originates from the Greek ‘graphe’, meaning drawing or writing. Printmaking and book printing made it possible for information to be disseminated and was an important medium in the Enlightenment and emergence of modern information society. Text and drawing represent important mediums in contemporary art, and different approaches to text were central to the development of conceptual art. At the same time, the combination of image and text has a rich tradition far beyond the sphere of art. Particular fields of interest in the focus area Printmaking are artist books, large-scale printing (floor cut) and change brought about by digitisation.

Some examples of what our workshops offer: monotype, relief printing: woodcut, linocut, intaglio printing: etching, drypoint, silk screen, lithography, materials and processes, and book binding.

In addition to the practical workshops, a forum offers engaging discussions on relevant theoretical issues relating to the topic of art and printmaking as a whole.

Ceramics and Clay

Recent years have witnessed a revitalised interest in materiality, making ceramics and clay a highly relevant medium and material within contemporary art. We operate with an extended understanding of material, examining its form, history and discursive contexts.

 The exploration of clay and ceramics takes place in the nexus between form, concept and communicative intent. We investigate the material as sculpture/object, installation, and by using performative strategies. This approach represents the core of the curriculum and the faculty members’ artistic practice and research. A particular focus on site-specific issues is central to the artistic research project Topographies of the Obsolete.

We understand clay and ceramics to be two different materials.

Clay is explored as a communicative material in its own right, closely linked to geology and place through concepts such as amorphousness, plasticity and cyclicality. Clay was the first material chemically refined by human beings – into ceramics. Thus, ceramics represents a material produced by culture and closely linked to human history – from the Stone Age to today; from mankind’s earliest sculptures to porcelain, brick, hip replacements and satellite surfaces. Our work with ceramics is based on ready-mades/objets trouvés and on the ceramic process itself.

Our programme offers technical introduction to a wide range of techniques and methods such as modelling, construction, casting, turning, glazing and firing. The focus area offers seminars and lectures related to different topics and courses. We provide tutoring and support for students’ individual projects, as well as courses based on the research of our faculty members. We operate our own workshop and technical facilities specifically adapted to aid our research and experimental practice.


Painting and Drawing

The idea of painting in contemporary society has expanded exponentially in the last two decades. The focus area of Painting and Drawing reflects this radical shift and offers an education which is focused on a balance between education in historical precedents and what it means to paint today.
In an article published in 2010 Jorg Heiser explores the idea of Super Hybridity where the hybridisation of art forms, processes and artworks has been radically affected by the exponential development of the Internet and other technologies.

The focus area of Painting and Drawing explores these themes through regular seminars, screenings and talks entitled On Painting and through workshops in traditional methods set in context with contemporary methods.

Examples of workshops include:  
Painting/Drawing Supports - A workshop in traditional methods of preparing canvas and panel painting with gesso as well as lectures and discussion on the history of oil and acrylic painting.
Painting/Drawing Pigments - A hands on introduction to making your own oil, acrylic and tempera paints as well as a lecture on colour theory in both light and pigment.

New Media

Developments of global culture have radically shifted art production today, along with understandings and usages of media. Processing and networking of files, sensing and copying, streaming and messaging radically condition forms of behavior and appear as performative activities paralleled by movements of global migration, transnational economies, and immaterial labor.

New media practices expose and explore these relationships through experimental forms involving analogue and digital materials and tools. New media is not only a specific artistic or technological field. It is also fully integrated into art practice in general, whether in the form of web-sites and web-presence, documentation techniques and knowledge productions, and in the conditions that enable networking, micro-organizing, and the facilitating of ideas and their circulation. New media is a fundamental cultural and social paradigm. 

Work in new media focuses on electronic and digital platforms. It is being developed through a broad base of issues and methods exploring relational and open practices, new forms of poetics and narrative, and reflections on media culture today. This includes an understanding of and experimentation with audio and visual tools, live sensing and real-time work, and with a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary and cross-genre aesthetic strategies. 

Areas of focus:
Sound & Moving Image
Live techniques
Sensing and Haptic Matters
Web Work 
Micro-politics & open culture 


Performance/ Time-based Art

The focus area Time-based Art centres on performance and performativity. The goal of performativity is to establish a form of simultaneity, a NOW in which the artist, the work and the audience jointly share in the present. Temporal reality is examined through artistic practice, collective experimentation and theoretical reflection. Performativity is a common element in relational aesthetics, video and media art, political activist art and performance art. Therefore, time-based art is not limited to a particular artistic medium.

Recent visiting lecturers
Kerstin Cmelka, CA Conrad, Marvin Gaye Chetwyn, Eva Koch and Eleanor Clare.

Sculpture and Installation

An essential aspect of Sculpture and Installation is the focus on presence. In a world of  increasing complexity and radical change in how we relate to information, contemplation is important. Against this global backdrop, the three-dimensional field can give us an opportunity for closeness, interaction and reflection. Although three-dimensional art represents a separate discursive arena, it plays out in a continuous dynamic relationship with the field of art as a whole. Today, sculpture and installation embrace a multitude of different expressions that often challenge traditional notions of three-dimensionality.

 The focus area is explored through seminars, practical workshops, lectures, tutoring and work reviews in a continuous dialogue with the past and the present. Our aim is to develop the individual student’s voice through an ongoing discourse within the field.


Textile art has gained renewed attention in contemporary art. It is a visual art form that uses textile techniques, materials and aesthetics based on traditional artisan methods and more recent technological tools. Today, many artists work with textiles in relation to space and architecture, function and installation.

Textile art has a tradition of being at the forefront of technological development and advanced use of materials. The focus area Textiles facilitates students’ experimental practice by exploring aesthetic, material and tactile qualities.

The meeting between analogue and digital art and design practice equips students with a solid toolkit. Students learn basic textile techniques of weaving and fabric printing using traditional tools and methods/techniques. In parallel with this, students are taught the use of advanced technical equipment such as digital looms and laser cutters. The interaction between fibre, construction and manipulation allows the many aesthetic and tactile qualities of textiles to be explored.

The experience of textile art deals among other things with touch that challenges our senses. Art theory as well as social and political topics create room to discuss textiles in relation to both contemporary art and historical context. The students’ conceptual and artistic processes reflect the society around them and pave the way for new forms of visual expression.


The Faculty of Art, Music and Design maintains a number of workshops and special rooms overseen by workshop technicians. As a student at the Department of Fine Art, you will be trained in the use of workshops relevant to you and your field of study.

A total of 13 workshops are housed at Møllendalsveien 61. Every workshop has a workshop technician with special expertise in the tools and equipment/machines provided.

Exchange Programme

Incoming exchange students: If you are interested in applying to the Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design as an exchange student, see our pages for Student Exchange at

Do you want to know more about exchanging at the Faculty of Art, Music and Design abroad? Go to the site for students (only in Norwegian).

For any requests about exchanging, contact Tale Vik, International Coordinator at KMD.

MA in Curatorial Practice

MA Curatorial Practice is a two-year low residency, seminar-based education for professional curators working independently or affiliated to institutions. Applications are accepted every second year, and we welcome applications from art professionals with a practice that is strongly linked to curatorial practice (such as curating artists, educators, writers and others) and those from affiliating fields of culture (theatre, film, literature, music etc.) willing to reflect on and translate their knowledge and practice.


The group of ten candidates will consist of individuals who have a personal commitment to their project and a strong interest in sharing their knowledge and thinking. The candidates should be eager to investigate and question their surroundings and professional contexts in order to create a discussion forum. MA Curatorial Practice is created through a series of seminars, workshops and lectures by a network of peers.