Elmgreen & Dragset Biography

Collaborating since 1997, artists Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset (Elmgreen & Dragset) have actively challenged and reshaped contemporary ideas about the viewing and experiencing of art. Wit and subversive humour almost always accompany their works, as evident in Prada Marfa (2005), which saw the artists place a fake Prada store in the middle of a Texas desert town, and the large sculpture Van Gogh's Ear (2016), which rendered the legendary ear using a domestic swimming pool. 'The noblest role of art', in the words of the artists, is 'to reject responsibility, to exist beyond any logic, to not just be reduced to becoming a reaction to something else.'

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Elmgreen & Dragset often seek to challenge the status quo of the art world while maintaining their signature humour. Entering the art world in the 1990s as 'outsiders'—with no academic background in art—the duo confronted the convention of the white cube literally by designing gallery spaces suspended from the ceiling, sunken into the ground or turned upside down. The transformation of these galleries was not simply whimsical; they also sought to reconfigure the rules that have dictated and continue to dictate the experience of art.

The transformation of conventional space is as integral to Elmgreen & Dragset's practice as the objects they may put in the space. In their 2015 show Aéroport Mille Plateaux, the duo transformed PLATEAU, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul, into an airport. With chairs commonly found in airports and playbacks of announcements for arrivals and cancelled flights, the space dictated the experience and behaviour of its visitors. Through the transformation, the duo explored the interchangeability of institutional architecture.

Elmgreen & Dragset have also demonstrated their prowess as artist-curators on several occasions. At the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009, in an unprecedented merging of two national pavilions, Elmgreen & Dragset curated the Danish and Nordic Pavilions as a single exhibition. Titled The Collectors, the exhibitions invited more than 20 artists and designers from the two respective countries to fill the homes of fictional art collectors. In transforming an otherwise competitive event into one of participation and intimacy, the duo subverted art world convention once more. Similarly, for their first exhibition in mainland China at the Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art, they turned the institution's great hall into the site of an art fair. Presenting a selection of over 80 of their works from the past two decades, The Well Fair (2016) continued the artists' longstanding interest in merging spaces to critique conventions of the art world. Each booth of the fair addressed larger sociocultural problems such as childhood and identity, while the fictive setting of the fair subverted the social hierarchy of artists and artworks found in commercial art fairs. Their success was further recognized by their appointment as the curators for the 15th Istanbul Biennial in 2017.

Based in Berlin, Elmgreen & Dragset have exhibited at numerous venues including Museum Haus Lange, Kunstmuseen Krefeld, Germany (2017); Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Israel (2016); Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen (2014); Victoria & Albert Museum, London (2013–2014); Tate Modern, London (2004); and Kunsthalle Zürich (2001). In 2000, they were nominated for the Hugo Boss Prize, in 2002 they won the Preis der Nationalgalerie at Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, and in 2009 they were awarded Special Mention at that year's Venice Biennale for their effort as curators.

Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2017

Elmgreen & Dragset
featured artworks

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Cielo sobre Acapulco by Elmgreen & Dragset contemporary artwork painting, sculpture
Elmgreen & Dragset Cielo sobre Acapulco, 2024 Stainless steel, oil paint
130 x 130 x 2.5 cm
Pace Gallery Request Price & Availability
Bent Target by Elmgreen & Dragset contemporary artwork sculpture
Elmgreen & Dragset Bent Target, 2023 Lacquered stainless steel
54 x 130 x 80 cm
Victoria Miro Request Price & Availability
Kunsthalle Fridericianum by Elmgreen & Dragset contemporary artwork painting
Elmgreen & Dragset Kunsthalle Fridericianum, 2012 Wall colour taken from an exhibition wall at Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel mounted on a frame stringed with canvas, framed in a black waxed oak frame
176 x 136 x 4 cm
Victoria Miro Request Price & Availability
The Journey, Fig. 1 by Elmgreen & Dragset contemporary artwork sculpture
Elmgreen & Dragset The Journey, Fig. 1, 2022 Patinated bronze
48 x 100 x 10 cm
Kukje Gallery Request Price & Availability
On Target, Fig. 7 by Elmgreen & Dragset contemporary artwork sculpture, mixed media
Elmgreen & Dragset On Target, Fig. 7, 2022 Stainless steel, lacquer
130 x 130 x 42.2 cm
Pace Gallery Request Price & Availability
Hand in Moon by Elmgreen & Dragset contemporary artwork photography, print
Elmgreen & Dragset Hand in Moon, 1999–2002 C-print, framed, artist proof
29.7 x 42 cm
Bernhard Knaus Fine Art Request Price & Availability
Reversed Crucifix by Elmgreen & Dragset contemporary artwork sculpture
Elmgreen & Dragset Reversed Crucifix, 2016 Aluminium, white matte lacquer, patinated bronze figure on stainless steel, MDF, high-gloss lacquer cross
254 x 168 x 40 cm
Not for sale
Tang Contemporary Art
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Elmgreen & Dragset
recent exhibitions

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Represented by these
Ocula Member Galleries

Kukje Gallery contemporary art gallery in Seoul, South Korea
Kukje Gallery Seoul, Busan
Pace Gallery contemporary art gallery in 540 West 25th Street, New York, United States
Pace Gallery Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, New York, Tokyo +3
Perrotin contemporary art gallery in Paris Marais, France
Perrotin Hong Kong, New York, Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai +2
Victoria Miro contemporary art gallery in Wharf Road, London, United Kingdom
Victoria Miro London, Venice
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