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Sharjah Biennial 14: Leaving the Echo Chamber Ocula Report Sharjah Biennial 14: Leaving the Echo Chamber 15 Mar 2019 : Stephanie Bailey for Ocula

In Meiro Koizumi's three-channel video installation, The Angels of Testimony (2019), the central frame features an interview with Hajime Kondo about his time as a solider of the Imperial Japanese Army during the Second Sino-Japanese War. The conversation centres on war crimes perpetrated in China, including the beheading of Chinese prisoners for...

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Diana Campbell Betancourt Ocula Conversation Diana Campbell Betancourt

Diana Campbell Betancourt is a curator working predominantly across South and Southeast Asia. Since 2013 she has been the founding artistic director of the Samdani Art Foundation and chief curator of the Dhaka Art Summit in Dhaka, Bangladesh, a transnational art event that has grown in size and scale ever since its first edition in 2012. Backed by...

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Chinternet Ugly at Manchester’s Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art Ocula Report Chinternet Ugly at Manchester’s Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art 7 Mar 2019 : Mike Pinnington for Ocula

China, home to 802 million internet users, is subject to sophisticated online censorship. This shrouded state of affairs, unsurprisingly perhaps, serves to reinforce stereotypes around conformity elsewhere. Any realm, digital or otherwise, subject to such strict scrutiny must necessarily be bland and uncritical, right? I was mulling over such...

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Elmgreen & Dragset

b. 1995, Denmark

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.’ 
 
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
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Featured Artworks

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Highway Painting, No. 8 by Elmgreen & Dragset contemporary artwork Elmgreen & DragsetHighway Painting, No. 8, 2019 Paint on asphalt, aluminium
205 x 205 x 8 cm
Kukje Gallery
Adaptation, Fig. 7 by Elmgreen & Dragset contemporary artwork Elmgreen & DragsetAdaptation, Fig. 7, 2018 Stainless steel (feet in PVC)
270 x 45 x 40 cm
Kukje Gallery
Looped Bar by Elmgreen & Dragset contemporary artwork Elmgreen & DragsetLooped Bar, 2018 Corian, MDF, stainless steel, beer taps, stools
Kukje Gallery
Color Field by Elmgreen & Dragset contemporary artwork Elmgreen & DragsetColor Field, 2018 Corian, glass, Plexiglass, LED, aluminium, stainless steel
120.6 x 180.6 x 17 cm
Kukje Gallery
Human Scale (Zero) by Elmgreen & Dragset contemporary artwork Elmgreen & DragsetHuman Scale (Zero), 2018 Aluminium, lacquer, polyurethane, mirror-polished stainless steel
179.3 x 80 x 82 cm
Perrotin
Queer Bar (oval)/ Powerless Structures, Fig. 221 by Elmgreen & Dragset contemporary artwork Elmgreen & DragsetQueer Bar (oval)/ Powerless Structures, Fig. 221, 2018 Corian, MDF, stainless steel, beer taps, stools
113 x 375 x 220 cm
Perrotin
Single Diving Board by Elmgreen & Dragset contemporary artwork Elmgreen & DragsetSingle Diving Board, 2018 MDF, PVC, aluminium, stainless steel
220 x 48 x 32 cm
Perrotin

Current & Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Elmgreen & Dragset, Adaptations at Kukje Gallery, Seoul
Opening Soon
21 March–28 April 2019 Elmgreen & Dragset Adaptations Kukje Gallery, Seoul
Contemporary art exhibition, Elmgreen & Dragset, Elmgreen & Dragset at Perrotin, Paris
Closed
13 October–22 December 2018 Elmgreen & Dragset Elmgreen & Dragset Perrotin, Paris
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Roppongi New Space Inaugural Exhibition: 'MOVED' at Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo
Closed
21 October–19 November 2016 Group Exhibition Roppongi New Space Inaugural Exhibition: 'MOVED' Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo

Represented By

In Ocula Magazine

Philip Tinari talks about Elmgreen & Dragset's 'The Well Fair' at UCCA, Beijing Ocula Insight Philip Tinari talks about Elmgreen & Dragset's 'The Well Fair' at UCCA, Beijing 26 January 2016

Since taking up the role of director at Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) in Beijing in 2011, Philip Tinari has increasingly become known as one of the leading experts on contemporary Chinese art. UCCA is one of the most important non-profit art institutions in China, and Tinari manages an exhibition programme dedicated to promoting both...

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Elmgreen & Dragset Ocula Conversation Elmgreen & Dragset Artists, Scandinavia

The influential powers of the art market; its hierarchies and trends, provide the stage and spotlight that determines a contemporary artist’s career. Danish and Norwegian artist duo Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset, aka Elmgreen & Dragset, have utilised these art world systems to their advantage, fuelling their practice and...

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Elmgreen & Dragset Ocula Conversation Elmgreen & Dragset Artists, Scandinavia

Subversive humor is at the heart of Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset’s widely divergent contemporary works that often include the transformation of architectural spaces and sculpture. The Scandinavian duo met in the mid-nineties at a nightclub in Copenhagen, lived together for a decade, and still collaborate today from their respective...

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In Related Press

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Elmgreen & Dragset’s cavernous Berlin live-work space offers a clever twist on familiar structures Related Press Elmgreen & Dragset’s cavernous Berlin live-work space offers a clever twist on familiar structures Wallpaper* : 1 January 2019

Scandinavian art duo Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset have become masters of the architectural installation over the past 13 years, picking up critical acclaim and international gallery shows as they go. Their work is characterised by presenting a familiar space in a different context.

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Don’t Step on the Starfish: Elmgreen & Dragset at FIAC Related Press Don’t Step on the Starfish: Elmgreen & Dragset at FIAC The New York Times : 17 October 2018

Artists see the world differently from everyone else. And the Scandinavian duo known as Elmgreen & Dragset have a particularly distinctive and skewed take on what the public sphere should look like.

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Elmgreen & Dragset: ‘It’s better to scream with laughter than just scream’ Related Press Elmgreen & Dragset: ‘It’s better to scream with laughter than just scream’ Financial Times : 1 September 2018

Artists Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset are mischief-makers with international clout. They may not be household names yet, but over the past decade the Scandinavian duo have been making a mark with public art that is at once witty, poignant and potent. Theirs, for instance, was the golden boy on a rocking horse on Trafalgar Square's Fourth...

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Elmgreen & Dragset Will Present Major Artwork At This French Art Fair In October Related Press Elmgreen & Dragset Will Present Major Artwork At This French Art Fair In October Harper's Bazaar : 15 August 2018

Artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset (Danish Michael Elmgreen and Norweigan Ingar Dragset) exhibit widely across the globe, and have shows lined up in Portugal, France, the UK and the USA this year and next.

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