ACADEMY GARDEN – workshop with Andre Dekker

From 10 to 20 October 2023, UL ALUO will host a workshop entitled “ACADEMY GARDEN – the garden as a work of art”, led by Andre Dekker, Dutch visual artist, draughtsman, scenographer and author in the field of public art in the context of sustainable urban and landscape transitions, co-founder of the art collective OBSERVATORIUM. It is open to all MA students of the Department of Sculpture, but also to all graduates of other UL ALUO faculties.

At the workshop Andre Dekker will introduce the ideas and experiences of the Observatorium collective in the field of public art in relation to social life, landscape architecture and spatial politics (detailed programme in the attachment). In other words: what is the function of art in a community, how is it embedded in landscape design, what meaning does it create? How is it a work of art with a spell… within the tensions and restrictions of public space and interest.

Dekker’s main motivation for this workshop is the feeling that the front yard of the academy deserves ideas and designs that reconcile the practical demands of the school with garden atmosphere and natural beauty. It excites him to know that students from different departments will join forces in a quest for the transformation of a vacant space to a place of art and repose. Participants will aim to combine the horticultural and the urban with the means of sculpture, design and intuition.


Dekker’s invitation:

It is exciting to know that the academy will be moving to a new building in the near future. Can we develop a prototype of an academy garden? What makes a garden of your academy special? Can we in ten days time create a glimps of wonder and inspire the dean and his ideas for a new academy? Let’s think, design and build a place that is a proposal for an academy garden. You can already get in the mood by having a look at the yard, the ideas for the new school and the good examples of small city parks in Ljubljana. They not just a collection of plants… plaques, murals, sculpture, furniture, heritage, etc.

Bring your good spirit and and dreams and let’s enjoy our quest for creating a garden combining fine arts, conservation-restoration and design. Tell me what talents you have and how you would integrate a personal desire into a communal work of art that functions as a communal place. A garden is a place of growth, light, smell and sound, and we need all the strands of art, design and conservation to make it a place of imagination.


The artist comes to UL ALUO at the invitation of the Dean, Prof. Alen Ožbolt, who wrote on the occasion:

It is a great honour to welcome Andre Dekker to the academy. I find many questions related to the content of the workshop to be very interesting and I look forward to exploring them with you all. For example, the garden as a place, as a ground of interests and curiosities.

How to research art via understanding and revisiting – working in and with the garden, the green ground, and the spaces in front of the academy which are forgotten or overlooked? How to talk about the garden; how to talk through the garden; and, finally – how to work the garden; or gardening?

Perhaps, the most important of all is the question of what a garden means to the academy itself. Consequently, how can a garden in a space in front of the academy contribute to the knowledge of the academy and expand our understanding of the school and art? I am very curious to find out what will follow.


Andre Dekker, personal archive.



The workshop is co-funded by the RSF.