Elmgreen and Dragset
Michael Elmgreen (born 1961; Copenhagen, Denmark) and Ingar Dragset (born 1969; Trondheim, Norway) have worked together as an artist duo since 1995. Their work explores the relationship between art, architecture and design.
Life and work
The duo met in Copenhagen in 1995, when Michael Elmgreen, who was born in the city in 1961, was writing and performing poetry, and Ingar Dragset, a Norwegian born in 1969, was studying theater. For the first 10 years of their artistic collaboration, they were a couple. They moved to Berlin in 1997. In 2006, they bought a large 1000m2 former water-pumping station dating to 1924 in Berlin’s Neukölln borough from the city and converted it into a home and studio. For a time both men lived in the building, each occupying one of the five stories that make up the rear section of the pumping station. In 2008, Elmgreen moved to London.
Since 1997, the artists have presented a great number of architectural and sculptural installations in an ongoing series of works entitled 'Powerless Structures' in which they transformed the conventions of the 'white cube' gallery space, creating galleries suspended from the ceiling, sunk into the ground or turned upside down. For the Istanbul Biennial in 2001, they constructed a full-scale model of a typical Modernist Kunsthalle descending into the ground while located outdoor among ancient ruins. Their work has also been shown in the Berlin, São Paulo, Gwangju, Moscow, Singapore, and Liverpool Biennials.
Further exhibitions include transforming the Bohen Foundation in New York into a 13th Street Subway Station in 2004; their best-known project Prada Marfa, a Prada boutique inaugurated in 2005 and sited in the middle of the Texan desert; and their exhibition The Welfare Show in 2005-2006 at Serpentine Gallery, London / The Power Plant, Toronto / Bergen Kunsthall, Norway / BAWAG Foundation, Vienna, which was critically acclaimed.
In 2007, Elmgreen and Dragset developed Drama Queens, a theatre play about Twentieth Century art history with six remote-controlled fiberglass versions of iconic sculptures, for Skulptur Projekte Münster. During the 2008 Frieze Art Fair, they staged Drama Queens, this time enlivened by the voices of leading stage stars such as Kevin Spacey, at The Old Vic in London.
Elmgreen and Dragset won the German Government's competition in 2003 for a memorial in Tiergarten park in Berlin, in memory of the gay victims of the Nazi regime, which was unveiled in May 2008.
For the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009 they curated the exhibition The Collectors in the neighboring Danish and Nordic Pavilions (which include Norway, Sweden, and Denmark), an unprecedented merging of two international exhibition venues. For their show, they invited fellow artists Maurizio Cattelan, Tom of Finland, Han & Him, Laura Horelli, William E. Jones, Terence Koh, Klara Lidén, Jonathan Monk, Nico Muhly, Norway Says, Nina Saunders, and Wolfgang Tillmans, among others.
In 2011, their sculpture Powerless Structures, Fig. 101 was chosen as the winner of the Fourth Plinth Commission to be displayed on the fourth plinth of London's Trafalgar Square. Their bronze sculpture of a boy astride a rocking horse questions the tradition for war monuments to celebrate either victory or defeat.
Elmgreen & Dragset were nominated for the Hugo Boss Prize in 2000, and in 2002 they won the Preis der Nationalgalerie at the Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin. In 2009, Elmgreen & Dragset were awarded Special Mention at the Venice Biennale for The Collectors, their highly elaborate exhibition for the Danish and Nordic Pavilions.
Solo Exhibitions (selected)
- "Harvest", Victoria Miro Gallery, London
- "Han", permanent public artwork installed at Kulturværftet Helsingør
- "Powerless Structures, Fig. 101", The Fourth Plinth, Trafalgar Square, London
- "Happy Days in the Art World", Performa 11, New York / Tramway, Glasgow
- "The One & The Many", Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum, Rotterdam
- "Amigos", Galería Helga de Alvear, Madrid
- "The Afterlife of the Mysterious Mr. B", Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris
- "Elmgreen & Dragset", The Thorvaldsen Museum, Copenhagen
- "It's Never Too Late to Say Sorry", daily performance, Sculpture International Rotterdam, Rotterdam
- "Silent wishes and broken dreams", Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich
- "The Collectors" – The Danish and Nordic Pavilions, 53rd Venice Biennale, Venezia
- "Drama Queens", Centre Pompidou, Paris
- "Trying to Remember What We Once Wanted to Forget", MUSAC, León
- "Too Late", Victoria Miro Gallery, London
- "Drama Queens", Old Vic Theatre, London
- "Home is the Place You Left", Trondheim Kunstmuseum, Trondheim
- "Gedenkort für die im Nazionalsozialismus verfolgten Homosexuellen", Berlin
- "Side Effects", Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris, France.
- "This is the first day of my life" Malmö Konsthall
- "Ti sto pensando", Villa Manin, Centre for Contemporary Art, Passariano
- "A Change Of Mind", Kunst am Bauzaun, Museion Bozen
- "Would You Like Your Eggs A Little Different This Morning ?", Galleria Massimo De Carlo, Milan
- "The Incidental Self", Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo
- "The Welfare Show", Serpentine Gallery, London/The Power Plant, Toronto
- "Disgrace", Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Miami
- "Prada Marfa", Art Production Fund/Ballroom Marfa, Marfa, Texas
- "The Brightness of Shady Lives", Galeria Helga de Alvear, Madrid
- "The Welfare Show", Bergen Kunsthall, Bergen, Norway / BAWAG Foundation, Vienna, Austria
- "Forgotten Baby", Wrong Gallery, New York, USA
- "End Station", Bohen Foundation, New York, USA
- "Linienstrasse 160, Neue Mitte", Klosterfelde, Berlin, Germany
- "Intervention 37", Sprengel Museum, Hannover, Germany
- "Blocking The View", Tate Modern Gallery, London, Great Britain
- "Moving Energies" - Aspekte der Sammlung Olbricht : Michael Elmgreen & Ingar Dragset, Museum Folkwang Essen, Essen, Germany
- "Paris diaries", Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris, France
- "Phone Home", Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York, USA
- "Short Cut", Nicola Trussardi Foundation, Milan, Italy
- "Spaced out", Portikus, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
- "Please, Keep Quiet", Galleri Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen, Denmark
- "Constructed Catastrophes, Fig. 2", CCA, Kitakyushu, Japan
- "Don't leave me this way", Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris, France
- "How are You Today", Galleria Massimo de Carlo, Milan, Italy
- "Powerless Structures, Fig. 229", Galeria Helga de Alvear, Madrid Spain
- "Museum", Sala Montcada/Fundacio La Caixa, Barcelona, Spain
- "Suspended Space", Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
- CGAC, Santiago de Compostela, Spain
- "Taking Place", Kunsthalle Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland
- "Opening Soon", Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York, USA
- "A Room Defined by its Accessibility", Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen, Denmark
- Galleri Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen, Denmark
- "Linienstrasse 160", Klosterfelde, Berlin, Germany
- "Powerless Structures, Fig. 111", Portikus, Frankfurt, Germany
- "Zwischen anderen Ereignissen", Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst Leipzig, Germany
- Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney, Australia
- Galleri Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen, Denmark
- "Powerless Structures, Fig. 57-60", The Project, New York, USA
- "Dug Down Gallery / Powerless Structures, Fig. 45", Galleri i8 & Reykjavik Art Museum, Reykjavik, Iceland
- "Powerless Structures", Galleri Campbells Occasionally, Copenhagen, Denmark
- "Twelve Hours of White Paint/Powerless Structures, Fig. 15", Galleri Tommy Lund, Odense, Denmark
Recent Group Exhibitions (selected)
- "Nude Men", Leopold Museum, Vienna
- "Common Ground", Public Art Fund, New York
- Liverpool Biennial, Liverpool
- "Untitled" (12th Istanbul Biennial), Istanbul
- "You Are Not Alone", Joan Miró Foundation, Barcelona
- "Fourth Plinth Commission, Six new proposals", The Foyer, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, London
Elmgreen and Dragset's work is in the permanent collection of several museums in Europe, such as the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebaek; the Moderna Museet in Stockholm; the Malmö Konsthall; the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin, and the Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea in Santiago de Compostela.
- "han" commissioned by city of Helsingør, the sculpture installed in the center of the harbor basin as a protagonist in Kulturhavn Kronborg.
- Louis Vuitton Young Arts Project Summer Academy (LVYAP), August 2012
- Louis Vuitton New Bond Street Maison and Louis Vuitton Librairie, London
- Elmgreen & Dragset: Trilogy, Peter Weibel and Andreas F. Beitin, eds., exh. cat., ZKM Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe (London: Thames & Hudson, 2011). ISBN 9783865609083
- Elmgreen & Dragset: Performances: 1995-2011, Anita Iannacchione, ed. (Köln: Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, 2011). ISBN 9783863350994
- Elmgreen & Dragset: This is the First Day of My Life, Anna Stüler, ed. (Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz Verlag, 2008). ISBN 9783775720502
- Home is the Place You Left, Elmgreen & Dragset, Trondheim Kunstmuseum (Köln: Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, 2008). ISBN 9783865604736
- Taking Place, Beatrix Ruf, ed., exh. cat. Kunsthalle Zürich (Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz Verlag, 2002). - no longer in print ISBN 9783775711562
- Zwischen anderen Ereignissen, exh. cat. (Leipzig: Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst, 2000). - no longer in print
- Powerless Structures exh. cat. (1998) - no longer in print
Memorial to Homosexuals persecuted under Nazism by Elmgreen and Dragset
- (May 27, 2011) 24 Questions for Elmgreen & Dragset blouinartinfo.com.
- "Last Chance: Elmgreen and Dragset at Victoria Miro, London". The Saatchi Gallery. 7 November 2008. Retrieved 2009-02-08.
- Daniel Kunitz (November 22, 2012),  Art+Auction.
- Wenin, Samila, "Art through irony", in The Bangkok Post, 15 September 2008. Retrieved 2009-02-08.
- Elmgreen/Dragset, 20 October 2001 - 24 November 2001 Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York.
- Untitled: Elmgreen and Dragset, 12 May - 4 July 2004 Tate, London.
- Sayej, Nadja (1 July 2006). "Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset: The Welfare Show.". Parachute: Contemporary Art Magazine. Retrieved 2009-02-08.
- Field, Frank (1 February 2006). "Another view: Frank Field MP on The Welfare Show". The Guardian (London: Guardian News and Media Limited). Retrieved 2009-02-08.
- Campbell-Johnston, Rachel (24 January 2006). "We were only being boring". The Times (London: News International Limited). Retrieved 2009-02-08.
- Elmgreen & Dragset: Silent wishes and broken dreams..., June 01 - July 31, 2011 Goetz Collection, Munich.
- Archer, Michael (22 August 2008). "The Old Vic - letting the art do the talking". The Guardian (London: Guardian News and Media Limited).
- Connolly, Kate (28 May 2008). "Germany remembers gay victims of the Nazis". The Guardian (London: Guardian News and Media Limited). Retrieved 2009-02-08.
- "Germany unveils memorial to gay victims of Holocaust". The New York Times. 27 May 2008. Retrieved 2009-02-08.
- "Trafalgar Square Fourth Plinth art choices revealed". BBC News. 14 January 2011.
- Fourth Plinth: the work of Elmgreen and Dragset The Telegraph.
- "Tildelinger af medaljer". Akademiraadet. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
- "Alberta Ferretti A Side Effects Un Abito Per Una Statua Di Elmgreen & Dragset...". Sfilate (in Italian). 22 January 2008. Retrieved 26 December 2009.
- "Malmö Konsthall, Elmgreen & Dragset, This is the First Day of My Life". Malmö Konsthall Website. 3 March 2007. Retrieved 2009-06-19.
- Taka Ishii Gallery (Apr 22 – May 20, 2006). "Elmgreen & Dragset: The Incidental Self". Taka Ishii Gallery. Retrieved 2009-02-08.
- Graczyk, Michael (20 February 2006). "Desert, cows and designer shoes; The handbags and pumps are part of the landscape of 'Prada Marfa,' an art piece that's turning heads in a West Texas town". Los Angeles Times. p. E18. Retrieved 2009-02-08.
- Mendelsohn, Adam E. (10 August 2005). "Stealing the Show". Artforum (Artforum International Magazine). Retrieved 2009-02-08.
- Allen, Jennifer, "Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset, Klosterfelde (Linienstrasse)" in Artforum, October 2005, pp. 286-287.
- Brown, Jonathan (12 May 2004). "Artists hope to ruffle feathers with model of dying sparrow". The Independent (Independent Newspapers (UK) Ltd). Retrieved 2009-02-08.
- Leitch, Luke (11 May 2004). "Watch the birdie; Twitching sparrow is a state of the art model at Tate Modern". The Evening Standard (Associated Newspapers Limited). Retrieved 2009-02-08.
- McBreen, Ellen, "Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset at Emmanuel Perrotin" in Art in America, 2003, pp. 155-156. Retrieved 2009-02-08.
- Bang Larsen, Lars (6 June 2000). "Whiteout". frieze magazine. Retrieved 2009-02-08.
- Elmgreen & Dragset: Short Cut, May 7 – June 4, 2003 Nicola Trussardi Foundation, Milan.
- Nick Compton (September 25, 2012) Elmgreen & Dragset at the Louis Vuitton New Bond Street Maison, London Wallpaper.
- Searle, Adrian (31 October 2008). "Elmgreen and Dragset: Private view with Adrian Searle". The Guardian (London: Guardian News and Media Limited). Retrieved 2009-02-08. (Podcast)
- Video interview with Elmgreen and Dragset, on the occasion of their 2011 exhibition 'The One & The Many' in Rotterdam (NL)