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Miklos Gaál

Romantic Irony as Contemporary Art

Finnish, born 1974

Doctoral candidate 

University of the Arts Helsinki / Fine Arts Academy


The dissertation research compares romantic irony with contemporary art. It considers the art philosophy of romantic irony (1790s Jena romanticism) as a critical and philosophical practice and relates it with visual arts and aesthetics.

The comparison point of romantic irony is considered as a critical ability in art that appeared first in early German romanticism and has been a part of it since. Romantic irony is a method that asks for thinking independently across all possible thought registers; it creates constructive confusion. With romantic irony, the study maps out preconditions for self-presentation as art – how its representation, form and effect are constituted. It is a means to render explicit how art conveys sense in a way that is characteristic and possible for works of art only, expressed via the body of work of Jena romantics.

The research makes comparisons between comparative literature studies and aesthetics from an artist’s perspective. It detects converge points of research, theoretical inquiry, artistic practice, and writing. The aspiration is to produce elaborations and concepts that can function as common comparison and exchange.

Area of expertise / topics of interest

contemporary visual arts, photography, film

early German romanticism

continental philosophy


Teaching experience

2022 guest teacher, Finnish Academy of Fine Arts / Viewpoints to artistic research, MA studies

2021 visiting lecturer, Gerrit Rietveld Academie Amsterdam / Making Things Public research group

2021 guest teacher, Aalto University, Helsinki / department of photography

2020 visiting lecturer, Universiteit van Amsterdam / Research Master of Art and Performance Research Studies

2019 visiting lecturer, Finnish Academy of Fine Arts / Visuaalisen kulttuurin seminaari, BA studies

2013 workshop teacher, Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design Budapest / department of photography

2013 workshop teacher, Finnish Academy of Fine Arts / department of photography

2010 guest teacher, AKI Academy of Art & Design Enschede

2010 workshop teacher, Aalto University, Helsinki / department of photography

Teaching in the formats of

guest lectures, conducting reading groups, 

student studio visits, thesis advisorship, 

artistic workshops

Teaching languages

English, Finnish

Links / artistic work





KuvA research activities

This blog highlights the activities of the research unit and doctoral programme at the Academy of Fine Arts Helsinki | Tämä blogi esittelee Kuvataideakatemian tutkimusyksikön ja tohtorikoulutusohjelman tapahtumia ja toimintaa | I den här bloggen presenteras verksamheten och evenemangen vid Bildkonstsakademins forskningsenhet och doktorandprogram

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