Michael Elmgreen (b. 1961, Denmark) and Ingar Dragset (b. 1969, Norway) have worked as a collaborative team since the mid-1990s.
In 2006, their Welfare Show at the Serpentine Gallery invited viewers to consider societal power structures, including economic disparity, health care, immigration, travel, prostitution, the police state and the role art plays in society. The duo were awarded Special Mention at the 2009 Venice Biennale for The Collectors, their highly elaborate and widely acclaimed exhibition for the Danish and Nordic Pavilions, while their 2011 work Celebrity: The One and the Many addresses rumour-mongering, life in the public eye, the machinations of the media and its formation of myths.
These three exhibitions had a significant impact on the culture industry and consequently enjoyed an astounding presence in the media and in the art world. While each of the three exhibitions was independently conceived and separately presented, when considered together they form a complex depiction of present-day Western society as seen from a personal perspective. The decline of the welfare state, the accumulation of extreme wealth and growing class distinctions, together with the phenomenon of an increasingly dominant celebrity culture are among the many issues that Elmgreen & Dragset explore.
This book documents these projects, showing how the artists' sculptures and installations reconfigure the familiar with characteristic wit and subversive humour. The book also includes interviews with the duo and with French philosopher Paul Virilio.
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