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February 24 2012

Joanna Lumley Unveils Fourth Plinth Statue, Elmgreen & Dragset’s Powerless Structures, Fig. 101

This video documents the unveiling of the Fourth Plinth statue Powerless Structures, Fig. 101 by the artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset. On February 23, 2012, the British actress Joanna Lumley unveiled the new temporary artwork for the Fourth Plinth in London’s Trafalgar Square. Conceived by the artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset, the work is a 4,1 meters high golden bronze sculpture that portrays a boy riding a rocking horse. The sculpture is titled Powerless Structures, Fig. 101 and stands in striking contrast to the motives of historical heroes and proud equestrian statues on the other three bases.

The Fourth Plinth is one of four bases that stand at the corners Trafalgar Square in central London. The two smaller southern plinths carry sculptures of Henry Havelock and Charles James Napier; the northern plinths were designed to carry equestrian statues. While the northeastern plinth was completed with a statue of George IV, the northwestern plinth, originally intended to hold an equestrian statue of William IV, remained empty because of insufficient funds. Built in 1841, the Fourth Plinth remained empty for over 150 years.

Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset have finally added the missing equestrian statue to the Fourth Plinth, but their boy astride his rocking horse doesn’t commemorate a glorious history, but is rather symbol for the future, and puts the past in a different perspective.

Elmgreen & Dragset follow Mark Wallinger (1999), Bill Woodrow (2000), Rachel Whiteread (2001), Marc Quinn (2005), Thomas Schütte (2007), Antony Gormley (2009), and Yinka Shonibare (2010) to occupy the Fourth Plinth. In 2013, Katharina Fritsch’s commission Hahn / Cock will be unveiled. The Royal Society of Arts (RSA) initiated the use of the Fourth Plinth for contemporary art in 1998. Today, the Mayor of London with support from Arts Council England funds the Fourth Plinth Programme.

Joanna Lumley Unveils Fourth Plinth Statue, Elmgreen & Dragset’s Powerless Structures, Fig. 101. Trafalgar Square, London / UK, February 21, 2012.

PS: Click here for more info and videos on Elmgreen & Dragset.

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Press release:


The next commission for the Fourth Plinth, Powerless Structures, Fig 101, by Scandinavian artistic duo Elmgreen & Dragset will be unveiled in Trafalgar Square at 9.30am on Thursday 23 February 2012.

Commissioned by the Mayor of London and supported by Arts Council England, the sculpture portrays a boy playing astride his rocking horse and will be cast in bronze.

The child is elevated to the status of a historical hero in line with the iconography of the other statues in the square. Instead of acknowledging the heroism of the powerful, however, the work celebrates the heroism of growing up and questions the tradition of monuments predicated on military victory or defeat. There is not yet a history to commemorate here – only a future to hope for.

The boy’s features gently mimic the authoritarian pose often found in the tradition of equestrian sculptures, but his gesture is one of pure excitement. There will be no tragic consequences resulting from his imaginary conquest.

The artists Elmgreen & Dragset said: “We always considered the small everyday battles in each person’s life just as important for the understanding of our culture as any big sensational headlines.”

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “The year that we host the greatest show on earth is an unprecedented opportunity to celebrate London’s status as the cultural capital of the world. Elmgreen & Dragset have created a gleaming sculpture for the Fourth Plinth, which will be a high profile attraction during a summer like no other – with its nod to equestrianism I hope it augers well for medal glory at the 2012 Games!”

Ekow Eshun, Chair of the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group, said: “We are absolutely delighted that Elmgreen & Dragset have accepted the commission and have produced such a compelling artwork. I am very much looking forward to the unveiling next month.”

Moira Sinclair, Executive Director of Arts Council England, said: “The Fourth Plinth provides a unique international platform for some of the world’s finest contemporary artists, allowing them to comment on London and the world we live in. Elmgreen and Dragset’s new commission maintains all the joy, intrigue and depth that we have come to expect, and gives a timely visibility to the place of the very young in our society. I hope Londoners take it to their hearts.”

The Fourth Plinth Programme is funded by the Mayor of London with support from Arts Council England and sees new artworks being selected for the vacant plinth in a rolling programme of new commissions. A key element of the Fourth Plinth Programme is to involve the public in debate about contemporary art in our public spaces. 17,000 people commented on the shortlisted proposals on cards at the proposals exhibition at St Martin-in-the-Fields in 2010 and via the website following the unveiling of the proposals.

July 28 2011

VernissageTV PDF-Magazine No. 18: Ai Weiwei’s Architecture, Matti Suuronen’s Futuro, Guerra de la Paz’ Venice

Out now: VernissageTV PDF-magazine No. 18, July 2011.

VernissageTV’s PDF Magazin No. 18 has its focus on the two major art events this year, the 54th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, and Art 42 Basel. Highlights of No. 18 are a personal look at five days in Venice by Miami-based artist duo Guerra de la Paz, and exclusive video and audio downloads for the readers of this issue. Then there are photo galleries showing Elmgreen & Dragset’s exhibition at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen’s Submarine Wharf in Rotterdam, and Ai Weiwei’s solo show Art / Architecture at Kunsthaus Bregenz. For design lovers, there’s a report on Matti Suuronen’s Futuro, House of the Future of the 1960s.

Artists in this issue: Ai Weiwei, Matti Suuronen, Elmgreen & Dragset, and Guerra de la Paz.

Click image or this link to download the magazine (20 MB) or hit the jump to view in Issuu Reader.

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Exclusive downloads for VernissageTV Members: ...

June 16 2011

Elmgreen & Dragset: It’s Never Too Late To Say Sorry / Performance Sculpture

Commissioned by Sculpture International Rotterdam (SIR), the artists Elmgreen and Dragset developed the work “It’s Never Too Late to Say Sorry“. The sculpture (a megaphone inside a steel display case) was unveiled on May 28, 2011, with a performance: A man appears, takes the megaphone, and blares out over the streets: “It’s never to late to say sorry”. This performance will be repeated every day at 12:00 for one year.

The unveiling has been held on the same day as the opening of the first large retrospective of this artist duo’s work in the Netherlands: The One & The Many in the Onderzeebootloods (Submarine Wharf) of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam.

It’s Never Too Late to Say Sorry is part of Sculpture International Rotterdam’s art programme for the Coolsingel axis. A major part of the Rotterdam collection of modern, international artwork is located on the Coolsingel. Over the past few years, the collection has been developed further, and will be expanded even more in the coming years with the addition of current works of international allure. Twelve artists were invited to participate in the program, among them Joep van Lieshout with the work “Cascade”, Cosima von Bonin (“The Idler’s Playground”), and Paola Pivi (“GRRR Jamming Squeak).

Michael Elmgreen & Ingar Dragset: It’s Never Too Late To Say Sorry. Unveiling of the sculpture, May 28, 2011.

> Right-click (Mac: ctrl-click) this link to download Quicktime video file.

May 31 2011

Elmgreen & Dragset: The One and The Many at Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam

It has been compared already to the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall, and in fact the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen’s Submarine Wharf is an equally large and impressive space. After Atelier Van Lieshout’s show in 2010, the Submarine Wharf in the Port of Rotterdam is now the arena for Elmgreen & Dragset’s show “The One & The Many”. In this video, Sjarel Ex, the director of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen talks about Elmgreen & Dragset’s exhibition, and the Submarine Wharf as exhibition space.

The One & The Many is the first major solo exhibition in the Netherlands of Elmgreen & Dragset. For the Submarine Wharf, the Scandinavian artist duo Michael Elmgreen (born 1961) and Ingar Dragset (born 1968) have created not only a huge installation, but have worked with the Ro Theater to provide the visitors with an immersive experience. More than 25 young actors are performing different scenes in the installation.

The exhibition deals with the social isolation of the individual and the lack of communication that Elmgreen & Dragset attribute to an affluent society and consumer culture. It runs through September 25, 2011.

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen and the Port of Rotterdam have formed a partnership to realize art projects at the Submarine Wharf each summer for five years (until 2014).

Coming soon: Elmgreen & Dragset: It’s Never Too Late To Say Sorry (Performance Sculpture); and Matti Suuronen: Futuro at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen.

See also:

Michael Elmgreen & Ingar Dragset: The One & The Many at the Submarine Wharf, Port of Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam. Preview and interview with Sjarel Ex (Director, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen), May 27, 2011.

> Right-click (Mac: ctrl-click) this link to download Quicktime video file.

January 05 2011

VernissageTV PDF-Magazine No. 15: The One, The Many, One Artist, Four Rooms, Miami

Out now: VernissageTV PDF-magazine No. 15, January 2011. In this issue we look back at Art Basel Miami Beach Week with an Miami Basel Overview by FADs Editor at Large Ben Austin (click here for his article at FAD) and photos by Sabine Trieloff, Mark Vogel, and Didier Leroi. (Photos by Didier Leroi and Gregor Rieser).

What else? An art meets design exhibition in Vienna; Pipilotti Rist, Roman Signer and Marc Newson in New York; Paul McCarthy in Los Angeles; Aaron Curry and Moniker in London; Argonaut Mathilda in Istanbul; and Elmgreen & Dragset’s “Celebrity – The One & the Many” at ZKM in Karlsruhe.

Click image or this link to download the magazine (14 MB) or hit the jump to view in Issuu Reader.

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November 09 2010

Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset: Celebrity – The One & The Many. ZKM Museum of Contemporary Art

Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset, the artists who became famous for their Prada store in Marfa and their “dead collector in swimming pool“-installation at the Venice Biennale 2009, conceived two large-scale installations for the ZKM, analyzing the celebrity culture of today.

With Elmgren & Dragset’s Celebrity – The One & The Many, showing from November 2010 to March 2011, the ZKM | Museum of Contemporary Art in Karlsruhe has organized the first large-scale museum solo-exhibition by Elmgreen & Dragset in Germany. The show consists of two installations, created especially for the ZKM’s unique architecture: a four-story residential tower block and what appears to be a neoclassical ballroom.

The high-rise residential building in the first atrium of the ZKM cannot be entered, but it is possible for the viewer to look into the numerous apartments. The museum’s second atrium has been transformed into a ballroom annexed to which is a fictive hall where a VIP party is in full swing. One cannot participate in the party, what’s happening within can only be imagined by the silhouette cast on the frosted glass panes of the closed doors.

Celebrity – The One & The Many at ZKM is part of an exhibition trilogy by Elmgreen & Dragset that started 2006 with The Welfare Show at the Serpentine Gallery in London and also includes Elmgreen & Dragset’s installation The Collectors for the Nordic Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2009.

The exhibition has been curated by Andreas F. Beitin.

Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset: Celebrity – The One & the Many. ZKM Museum of Contemporary Art (Museum fur Neue Kunst), Karlsruhe / Germany. Opening reception, November 6, 2010.

> Right-click (Mac: ctrl-click) this link to download Quicktime video file.

“The exhibition Celebrity – The One & the Many, by Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset on show at the ZKM | Museum of Contemporary Art investigates various aspects of socio-cultural milieu. This artistic presentation includes a staging of a series of different yet interwoven narratives which, by using randomly positioned stage lights, are aimed at directing attention towards numerous social, political, and artistic aspects. Among others, Celebrity emphasizes the relationship between “the one and the many,” the one being a prominent personality, an icon, an a-list type, and the mass – that mass of “normal” people, and investigates the ways in which the lifestyle of the rich and famous is mediated to a broad public by way of staged and affected realities. Notoriously, distortions, rumors, gossip, and half-truths play a role in the stories of the glamour world, eliciting either dream-worlds or scandals.

The exhibition visitor is barred from the exclusive society only able to hear the noises of the excessive party taking place within. Contrasts such as poverty and wealth, oppressive everydayness and glamour run through the exhibition’s installations as common thread. Thus the visitor becomes a performative element for those other visitors observing from above, from the higher floors of the museum, and hence become part of the installation in the sense of an extended concept of sculpture.”

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