Recording of the talk during Biennial Foundation Annual Reception on 10 May 2017 in Venice.
Based in London and Berlin, Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset have worked as a collaborative duo since the mid-1990’s. Well-known for siting a Prada boutique in a Texan desert in 2005, the artists have been commissioned to create a number of sculptures internationally within the public realm: in 2016, their large-scale work Van Gogh’s Ear, which takes the form of a displaced swimming pool sitting upright, transformed the Fifth Avenue entrance to the Channel Gardens at the Rockefeller Center, New York; A Greater Perspective, an oversized and non-functional bronze telescope, was installed on New York’s High Line from 2015 to 2016, simultaneously drawing attention to and disrupting a secret view of the Statue of Liberty; HAN, a contemporary revisioning of the Danish national icon The Little Mermaid, was installed permanently at Kulturevaerftet Helsingør, Denmark in 2012; Powerless Structures, Fig. 101, the winning proposal for the Fourth Plinth Commission selected by the City of London, was on view in London’s Trafalgar Square from 2012 – 2013; and in 2012 the artists were commissioned by the Munich city council to create and curate a programme of installations across Munich’s main squares. The resulting a year-long artistic project, A Space Called Public / Hoffentlich Öffentlich, included the artists’ own work as well as the work of a number of other contemporary artists.
Elmgreen & Dragset have staged numerous national and international institutional exhibitions at venues including Museum Haus Lange, Kunstmuseen Krefeld (2017); FLAG Art Foundation, New York (2016); Tel Aviv Museum of Art (2016); the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing (2016); PLATEAU, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul (2015); Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo, touring to Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen (2014); Victoria & Albert Museum, London (2013 – 2014); ZKM Center for Art and Media, Karlsrühe (2010); Boijmans van Beuningen Museum, Rotterdam (2011); MUSAC, León (2009); Malmö Konsthall (2007); Serpentine Gallery, London (2006); MCA Chicago (2005); Tate Modern, London (2004); and Kunsthalle Zurich (2001). In 2003, Elmgreen & Dragset won the prestigious Preis der Nationalgalerie für Junge Kunst at Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin, and the artists were awarded Special Mention at the 53rd Venice Biennale (2009) for The Collectors at the Danish and Nordic Pavilions. The artists have conceived, written and directed theatre productions at Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2009), and the Performa 11 biennale, New York (2011), in addition to curating exhibitions including Do Not Disturb: At the Invitation of Elmgreen & Dragset, Gerhardsen Gerner, Oslo (2014).