Elmgreen & Dragset. By Kimberly Bradley.
Read our feature on the work of the Scandanavian duo, as it takes a darker turn, from the October 2013 issue.
the way to a monolithic former water-pumping station on a leafy residential street in the now-modish Berlin neighbourhood of Neukölln, a chatty taxi driver tells me that he long ago delivered revellers to blowout parties at this address.
Since 2008, however, the building has been the studio, apartment and creative hub of the artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset. Shafts of natural light penetrate the main hall’s cathedral-high interior through soaring vertical windows. Depending on when one visits, the near-divine rays might illuminate mostly empty space – or, on the other hand, tons of objects. It’s a reflection of an artistic practice that, lately, has been wavering between provocatively public and pensively private.
The duo – the fifty-something but youthful Michael Elmgreen is from Denmark, while the Norwegian Ingar Dragset is about a decade younger – first garnered wide attention with irreverent projects like the stocked-but-locked Prada store in the Texan desert near Marfa in 2005 and the swish The Collectors interiors (and a fictional, dead-in-the-water collector, Mr. b) in the Danish and Nordic pavilions at the 2009 Venice Biennale. Londoners, too, recently got a long public dose of their sensibility with Powerless Structures Fig 101 (2012), an elfin boy on a rocking horse, which sat atop Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth for 18 months until early July 2013...