Perrotin is pleased to present the sixth solo exhibition of Elmgreen & Dragset in Perrotin Paris, and the tenth in collaboration with the gallery. This time, the artist duo takes over the Matignon gallery with a site specific installation created for the gallery space and a series of recent works.
Elmgreen & Dragset have worked together for more than twenty-five years, in a wide range of media. Whilst drawing from the aesthetics of Minimalism, the artist duo create sculptures and installations that both engage with current, social, and existential issues surrounding both public space and everyday designs, and how these influence our behavior and mindsets. Their new body of sculptural works continues the artists’ ongoing interest in how we interact with spatial contexts.
"When we come into a room, even if it is an amazing institution, we are constantly asking ourselves how we can transform it into something that changes its identity for a time. Maybe that has to do with us not being brought up in a museum environment. We never take an art space for granted."
Some new tenants seem to have moved into Perrotin’s Matignon space. In the smaller room of the venue one can read on the window: Walk-ins welcome - Massage, 35 euro per hour. Inside, viewers can encounter a body lying undressed on a massage bench.
In the other room, a selection of bodily related sculptural works by Elmgreen & Dragset is on display. Signature pieces by the artist duo such as a pair of diving boards, two interconnected sinks and an outline of a Moebius shaped swimming pool in stainless steel.
"People ask if we are part of the system that we critique, and we obviously have to say yes. We are all part of a capitalist reality, and we cannot escape it. We have to react to the world around us. (…) For us, being critical is about studying every aspect of our reality."
Michael Elmgreen (born in Copenhagen, Denmark) and Ingar Dragset (born in Trondheim, Norway) have worked as a duo since 1995. They live and work in Berlin, Germany.
Elmgreen & Dragset work at the crossroads of art and architecture, performance and installation. Preoccupied with objects and their settings, along with the discourse that can arise when those objects are radically recontextualized, Elmgreen & Dragset push against the normal modes for the display of art. Whether through sculptures or total environments, their work draws attention to the institutions that host them and their attendant politics. Performativity and participation are fraught in their work, which invites and denies participation in equal measure—pools are emptied, diving boards are oriented vertically, bars are inaccessible, sinks dysfunctional. Quotidian objects are stripped of their utility and regarded as sculptural phenomena, taking on minimalist aesthetics that challenge the sterilizing force of the white cube. In the same way, Elmgreen & Dragset’s outdoor public sculptures recontextualize their surroundings, as seen in well-known projects like Van Gogh’s Ear at Rockefeller Plaza in New York or Prada Marfa, located along Highway 90 in the middle of the Texan desert.