eine rote Koralle, an der unterschiedliche Gegenstände hängen
© Mark Dion, Courtesy Galerie Nage/Draxler Berlin, Foto: Robert Vanis

Mark Dion. Die Akademie der Dinge | The Academy of Things

In 2014 the Academy of Fine Arts in Dresden (HfBK) is celebrating the 250th anniversary of its foundation. To mark the occasion Mark Dion, the artist of international renown, will carry out his first project in Dresden, at the invitation of the Art Academy.

  • DATES 24/10/2014—25/01/2015


For his biggest personal show in Germany to date, Mark Dion (*1961, USA) has drawn his inspiration from things hidden away in the collections of the Dresden Art Academy. The broad oeuvre of this documenta artist ranges from drawings and prints via videos, photographic essays, sculpture, installations and  dioramas to full‐blown expeditions. Mark Dion works with museums and  collections all over the world, using his artistic practice to challenge the claim these authorities make to sole sovereignty in the interpretation of knowledge.

eine rote Koralle, an der unterschiedliche Gegenstände hängen
© Mark Dion, Courtesy Galerie Nage/Draxler Berlin, Foto: Robert Vanis
Blood Coral


In Dresden too, Dion has trawled the depots and archives of illustrious institutions, questioning the systems they traditionally apply to ordering the objects from all around the world which they collect and display. In the process the artist has transformed apparently rigid classifications and triggered debate about the historical context of collections by rearranging their holdings in his complex installations. Following his expeditions into otherwise hidden storehouses, the Academy’s own exhibition space, the Octagon – will be transformed into an Academy of Things, where a fresh look will be taken at the institutional treasures. In cooperation with the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden Mark Dion amplify his exhibition in two „satellits“ in the Green Vault and the Albertinum.


The artistic experiments at the Octagon (HfBK Dresden) and the two satellits  the Green Vault and the Albertinum (Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden) are designed to test new lines of access for handling exhibits in the future. How  can we make the histories of things visible? What is the status of damaged or ruined objects? How might these things conceivably be ordered in new ways? And what role does the material culture of past centuries play in present‐day teaching?

ein aus einem Berg Müll schauendes Horn
© Mark Dion, Courtesy Galerie Nage/Draxler Berlin, Foto: Robert Vanis
Rhino Horn



A temporary pinacotheca for these works will be set up in the Academy’s Octagon. Interest will focus on the multifarious artefacts used for teaching art – plaster casts, glass slides, pigments and X‐rays, for example. The highlights among these educational aids are the unique anatomical models and preserved specimens of human and animal origin. Mark Dion has made this collection and its ideological implications the focus of his project and will be inviting discussion about these models, which in the past have not all been accessible to the public. With his interdisciplinary approach, the artist exposes the stories behind such exhibits, but also the losses incurred by wars or teaching reforms.

Grünes Gewölbe

Two satellites to this project will pursue their own, different approaches to museum objects and the histories and orders attached to them. For the Historical and New Green Vault – Dresden’s spectacular treasure chamber reopened only a few years ago – Dion revives the notion of the cabinet of curiosities. New objects appear among the historical staging of the permanent palatial display. With these New Curiosities for the Green Vault, the things of everyday life take their place within the princely cabinet of curiosities, prompting us to ask whether wonder and amazement are appropriate categories anymore as we reflect upon the material culture of an industrialised world.


At the Albertinum, the home of the Gallery of New Masters and the Sculpture Collection, Mark Dion has created a Wild Animal Salon, a stock‐taking exercise which takes note of the collection’s paintings of wild animals from the Early Modern period until the 20th century. Through his practice, the artist maintains a running commentary on the 19th century and the way it ordered things. By selecting these he questions the way museums formulate  categories,making it clear that the relationship between humans and animals,  between culture and nature – environmental issues, one might say – has  always been subject to negotiation in curatorial and artistic practice.

[Translate to English:] weitere Ausstellungen

Further Exhibitions
18.03.2017 —25.06.2017

You May Also Like: Robert Stadler

im Kunsthalle im Lipsiusbau

Porzellanhund zwischen zwei Stühlen
19.10.2017 —14.01.2018

Marlene Dumas. Skulls

im Albertinum

Collage aus verschiedenen, gemalten Totenköpfen
To top