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b. 1995, Denmark

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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Hand in Moon by Elmgreen & Dragset contemporary artwork
Elmgreen & DragsetHand in Moon, 1999–2002C-print, framed, artist proof
29.7 x 42 cm
Bernhard Knaus Fine Art Contact Gallery
53 mins/2 hrs. 3 mins by Elmgreen & Dragset contemporary artwork
Elmgreen & Dragset53 mins/2 hrs. 3 mins, 2019Marble candles, plinth in MDF and high-gloss lacquer
93 x 30 x 40 cm
Taka Ishii Gallery Contact Gallery
Figure 24 by Elmgreen & Dragset contemporary artwork
Elmgreen & DragsetFigure 24, 2009FRP
170 x 70 x 45 cm
Taka Ishii Gallery Contact Gallery
Watching by Elmgreen & Dragset contemporary artwork
Elmgreen & DragsetWatching, 2016Stainless steel, epoxy resin, Urethane paint
320 x 100 cm
Perrotin Contact Gallery
Reversed Crucifix by Elmgreen & Dragset contemporary artwork
Elmgreen & DragsetReversed Crucifix, 2016Aluminium, 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
A Resting Position by Elmgreen & Dragset contemporary artwork
Elmgreen & DragsetA Resting Position, 2019White marble, aluminium, lacquer
84 x 32.5 x 37 cm
Kukje Gallery Contact Gallery
Couple, Fig. 23 by Elmgreen & Dragset contemporary artwork
Elmgreen & DragsetCouple, Fig. 23, 2017MDP, PVC, aluminum, stainless steel
Victoria Miro Enquire
Self-Portrait, No. 16 by Elmgreen & Dragset contemporary artwork
Elmgreen & DragsetSelf-Portrait, No. 16, 2015Engraved marble
50 x 75 cm
Victoria Miro Enquire

Elmgreen & Dragset Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, WHO AM I at Tang Contemporary Art, Beijing
Closed
14 March–10 May 2020 Group Exhibition WHO AM I Tang Contemporary ArtBeijing
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Taka Ishii Gallery 25th Anniversary: Survived! at Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo
Closed
25 June–27 July 2019 Group Exhibition Taka Ishii Gallery 25th Anniversary: Survived! Taka Ishii GalleryTokyo
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Taka Ishii Gallery 25th Anniversary: Survived! at Taka Ishii Gallery Photography / Film, Tokyo
Closed
25 June–27 July 2019 Group Exhibition Taka Ishii Gallery 25th Anniversary: Survived! Taka Ishii Gallery Photography / FilmPhotography / Film, Tokyo

Elmgreen & Dragset Represented By

Kukje Gallery contemporary art gallery in Seoul, South Korea Kukje Gallery Busan, Seoul
Pace Gallery contemporary art gallery in New York, USA Pace Gallery New York, London, Geneva, Palo Alto, Hong Kong, Seoul, Beijing
Perrotin contemporary art gallery in Paris, France Perrotin Hong Kong, New York, Paris, Seoul, Shanghai, Tokyo
Taka Ishii Gallery contemporary art gallery in Tokyo, Japan Taka Ishii Gallery Tokyo, Hong Kong
Victoria Miro contemporary art gallery in Wharf Road, London, United Kingdom Victoria Miro London, Venice

Elmgreen & Dragset 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

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...

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Elmgreen & Dragset Ocula Conversation Elmgreen & Dragset By Rachael Vance, Berlin

We aim to call attention to the standardised format of art fairs and we want to see how people will adapt their behavioural patterns when entering our fictional art fair within the context of the museum.

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Elmgreen & Dragset Ocula Conversation Elmgreen & Dragset By Catherine Shaw, Seoul

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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Elmgreen & Dragset In Related Press

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Elmgreen & Dragset Hold up a Queer Mirror to the Art World Related Press Elmgreen & Dragset Hold up a Queer Mirror to the Art World 3 October 2019, Frieze

The sculptures of artist-collaborators and former lovers Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset have always reflected upon the company they keep, from the biennial circuit to the art fair jet-set, casting the rarified culture industry in a queer, satirical light.

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The Shows to See in Copenhagen During Chart Related Press The Shows to See in Copenhagen During Chart 29 August 2019, Frieze

Danish collective SUPERFLEX follow Jeppe Hein in the creation of an installation in the moist, dark recesses of Copenhagen's fascinating former cisterns. 'It is not the end of the world', invites the viewer to enter a dystopian future set in a climate-ravaged city. Waterproof footwear is obligatory to enter the space and can be borrowed on site....

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Elmgreen & Dragset and Georg Jensen invite you to put your phones to bed Related Press Elmgreen & Dragset and Georg Jensen invite you to put your phones to bed 15 July 2019, Wallpaper*

Georg Jensen's HQ occupies a yellow-brick, former porcelain factory building in the leafy neighbourhood of Frederiksberg, Copenhagen. It's a suitably impressive place, befitting a world-renowned heritage brand, but what sets it apart is what it contains, rather than its architecture. On its first floor is the world's largest silver smithy, where...

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Elmgreen & Dragset's bar doesn't work (and that's the point) Related Press Elmgreen & Dragset's bar doesn't work (and that's the point) 2 April 2019, Phaidon News

There's a nice-looking bar at Elmgreen & Dragset's new show, Adaptations, at the Kukje Gallery in Seoul, South Korea. It's white, oval shaped, and is fitted with two bar taps, and looks pretty inviting...

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