Elmgreen & Dragset
No Man Is An Island
Aluminium, polished bronze, lacquer
70 9/10 × 27 3/5 × 31 1/2 in
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.