Everyone is Broke by Elmgreen & Dragset
Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset started earning themselves a name as artistic partners in the early 1990s with their socially and politically engaged action art and installations. Amongst their most renowned pieces are their Powerless Structures, a series of works developed over time where the artists examine the concept of space and its multiple possibilities in terms of meaning and function. By inverting these terms, in the sense defined by Foucault, they put forth a compelling critique of art systems as seen through architecture, revealing a number of gender issues related to gay identity and aspects of youth and art-world subcultures. The issue of constructing meanings both in the private and public or institutional spheres, and their sexual connotations therefore stand as a key theme in Elmgreen & Dragset’s work. By transferring a given space into a new context that redefines its meaning and simultaneously applying calculated interventions to the way that very meaning operates, Elmgreen & Dragest manage to strip spaces of their conventional significance and open up new possibilities in terms of perception and appreciation. Their work thus provides a compelling demonstration of the alterability of established structures.
Their acclaimed shows at Tate Modern (London), Bonen Foundation (New York), Serpentine Gallery (London), Marfa (L.A.), and their contributions to a number of biennials, including Sao Paulo, Venice, Sydney, Yokohama, Berlin, Istanbul or Skulptur Projekte Munster 08 have earned them leading awards including the Berlin Hamburger Bahnhof’s Preis der Nationalgaleirie für Junge Kunst, solidly establishing their presence on the international art scene. Based in Berlin, they are currently working as artists/ curators for the Danish and Norwegian pavilions at the forthcoming Venice Biennale, where for the first time in history two countries will put forth a joint project.