Art in the Elevator: Michael Elmgreen / Ingar Dragset. Drama Queens
Since 1995, the artist duo Michael Elmgreen (1961 Copenhagen, DK – Berlin, DE) and Ingar Dragset (1969 Trondheim, NO – Berlin, DE) have been working at the intersection of art, architecture, and design. Often taking a subversively humorous approach, their work explores social and cultural topics, which are expressed in film, performance, and large-scale architectural or sculptural installations.
The play Drama Queens was originally conceived in collaboration with Tim Etchells for skulptur projekte münster 07 and premiered in June 2007 at Theater Münster. The protagonists are seven iconic sculptures of the twentieth century—Walking Man (Alberto Giacometti, 1947), Elegy III (Barbara Hepworth, 1966), Rabbit (Jeff Koons, 1986), Four Cubes (Sol LeWitt, 1971), Untitled (Granite) (Ulrich Rückriem, 1984), Cloud Shepherd (Jean Arp, 1953), and Brillo Box (Andy Warhol, 1964)—who perform as theatrical egomaniacs, insulting each other, and a highly entertaining discussion ensues about the major art movements since 1945 as represented by these different sculptures. With this piece, the two artists have staged a captivating psychodrama that not only offers insights into twentieth-century art history—from biomorphic abstraction and Minimalism to Pop art and Postmodernism—but also reveals the personalities of those who originally created these sculptures. Taken out of their natural habitat, i.e. the museum, the artworks satirically reflect on the relationships between art, institution, and audience.