For their first solo exhibition in Berlin for 15 years and the first in the KÖNIG GALERIE on May 16, Elmgreen & Dragset present three new figurative sculptures in an immersive environment that transformed the visual appearance of the NAVE, the nave of St. Agnes.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: Due to the current situation in connection with the Covid 19 epidemic, the exhibition can only be visited after booking a time slot. The gallery allows a limited number of visitors to enter the premises at the same time in order to maintain the health of all guests.
Short storyopens the stage for a game between two boys. Upon entering the gallery room, the visitor encounters an almost normal-sized but slightly elevated tennis court. A net in the middle separates the two players and creates a kind of horizontal diptych. The white lines, which are painted on the orange-brown floor surface, not only point to the established rules of sport, but also visually recall the grid principles of modernity and the road markings that regulate our behavior patterns in public space. The boys' figurative bronze sculptures painted in white are placed diagonally at the opposite ends of the field - small and isolated from each other on the large surface. Their bodies and looks are turned away from each other, the dialogue and play between them has come to a standstill. Instead of joy, the game seems to have created an unease, both for the "winner" and for the "loser". The scene is a still image that captures the charged moment after a defeat, in which the audience as viewer continues to spin the story. Was it a fair game? Is there ever a fair game?
In a corner off the tennis court, the third figure is that of an older man who is half asleep in his wheelchair. With half-closed eyelids, his inner world seems to overlay his outer world as he slowly withdraws from the reality around him. It almost seems as if the tennis game between the two boys is just a vision in his head - a distant memory that reappears in a dream. The scenario in Elmgreen & Dragsets Short Story with its abrupt narratives, the apparent decay of time and the colliding realities invites you to think about topics such as individualism and competition, but also offers the possibility of many other readings.
Elmgreen & Dragset have been working together as an artist duo since 1995, and have lived and worked in Berlin since 1997. In their artistic practice, they research questions about identity and belonging. With their working methods, which often question conventional forms of exhibition making, the artist duo strives to recontextualize or change the conditions under which we perceive sculptural objects.
The artists have hosted numerous solo exhibitions in art institutions around the world, most recently an overview exhibition of their sculptural practice at the Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas (2019-20), and an exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery, London (2018-19), where they transformed the gallery space into an abandoned public swimming pool. Elmgreen & Dragset have created numerous public sculptures, including Van Gogh's Ear , which was first presented by the Public Art Fund at Rockefeller Center, New York in 2016 and has now been installed at K11 in Hong Kong; her work Bent Pool was installed in Pride Park, Miami Beach in December 2019. In 2008 the artists created itMonument to the homosexuals persecuted under National Socialism , which can be seen permanently in the Berlin Tiergarten. In 2019, the Hamburger Bahnhof acquired its Statue of Liberty (2018) for the sculpture garden.
Her work has been shown at biennials in Bangkok (2018), Istanbul (2013, 2011, 2001), Gwangju (2006, 2002) and at the Venice Biennale (2009, 2003), where she worked for The Collectors in Nordic and Danish in 2009 Pavilion received a special mention. In 2017 the artists curated the Istanbul Biennale.
Works by the artists are represented in numerous collections, including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, the Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo, the Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main, and the Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich , in the Hamburger Bahnhof Museum for the Present, Berlin, in the Museum of Modern Art, Frankfurt am Main, in the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv, and in the Benesse Art Site, Naoshima as well as in many other institutions.
In 2002 Elmgreen & Dragset were awarded the Nationalgalerie Prize for Young Art; in January 2020 the artist duo received the BZ Culture Prize.