Elmgreen & Dragset: Self-Portraits
Self-Portraits is Elmgreen & Dragset’s third solo exhibition at Victoria Miro and their first in the Mayfair gallery. The show features a new series of works that are representations of museum wall labels of other artists’ works, including David Hockney, Ross Bleckner, Roni Horn, Martin Kippenberger, and Nicole Eisenmann, among others.
A wall label is normally not an integral part of a work of art. It is there to inform the viewer who the artist behind the work is, what the title of the work is, what materials it is made from, which year it was made, perhaps who gifted it or lent it to the museum, and so on. Apart from the facts it communicates, it has no particular value as an object.
Not so in Elmgreen & Dragset’s Self-Portraits. In this new series of works, the artist duo have appropriated wall labels describing other artists’ work, and transformed them into art works in their own right. Whereas such labels are usually printed on throwaway cardboard materials, in a scale that is meant to be detected but not too visible, Elmgreen & Dragset’s labels are over-sized and made in some of the most art-historically time-honoured materials, such as marble, paint on canvas, charcoal on paper and enamel paint on metal.