elmgreen & dragset: 'the collectors' at the nordic pavilion
elmgreen & dragset: 'the collectors' at the nordic pavilion elmgreen & dragset: 'the collectors' at the nordic pavilion
jun 12, 2009

elmgreen & dragset: 'the collectors' at the nordic pavilion

the mysterious case of mr. B, the imaginary owner of the house, found floating in the pool image © designboom for the first time in the history of the venice art biennale, two national pavilions, the danish and the nordic, come together to present one single exhibition entitled, ‘the collectors’.

elmgreen and dragset‘s imaginary collection has transformed the nordic pavilion into a domestic living space, which is inhibited by a gay collector, mr. B. among pieces of scandinavian furniture, the intimate home includes cult works, homosexual cultural icons and young people sitting on easy chairs waiting for an imaginary lover to arrive.

‘the collectors’ offers an allegorical stage set where two interrelated fictional portraits are presented, each in connection to one of the pavilions. through this setting the particular and personal individuals portrayed is set in contrast to the wider, open landscape of the venice biennale, in an exploration of the increasingly porous realms of the private and public space.

mr. B carefully took off his shoes and socks before plunging into the water image © designboom

the stark space of the nordic pavilion, decked out in scandinavian furniture and the artworks of well-known international and emerging artists including ‘cubes (after sol lewitt)’, 1998 / 2008 at left, by henrik olesen.

mr. b’s love of art collecting is prominent

‘butterflies’ by han & him, 2009 a collection of swim wear of ex-lovers

the interior was uncluttered to bring focus to the artwork and furniture inside the space image © designboom

the homosexual drawings by tom of findland are showcased inside a closed display image © designboom

the bed is inset into the floor and has a television nearby playing a compilation of videos including 150 films, all male mash up and the fall of communism as seen in gay pornography, 2009 (compiled by william e. jones) image © designboom

classic scandinavian designs are very present in the home image © designboom

FKK / naturists, 2008 by wolfgang tillmans hangs in the kitchen c-print mounted on forex in artist’s frame image © designboom

image © designboom

‘desk job’, 2009 by simon fujiwara desk, photos, documents, text image © designboom

the juxtaposition between the exterior of the house and the interior

ingar dragset (at right) with his team of young people sitting on the stairs image © designboom

‘the collectors’ goody bag image © designboom

the goody bag distributed for the danish and nordic pavilions contains a collection of items which have been selected by the participating artists and invited writers, and extends the theme of collecting into fields beyond those approached by the exhibition. each of the items has been carefully preserved and includes: limited editions, books, a poster, postcards and something that goes beyond the thinkable, a salame, contributed by italian artist maurizio cattelan.

quotes on the back of the bag image © designboom

‘the collectors’ catalogue also functions as a calendar and can be considered an artist’s multiple image © designboom

the real cherry on top of ‘the collectors’, is a catalogue which has been produced and sustained with the collaboration of fondazione nicola trussardi. the catalogue can be conceived as a real artist’s multiple (functioning not only as the catalogue, but a work of art).

inside the calendar, important dates have already been highlighted image © designboom

only the first 500 goodie bags contained a salame, which was contributed by maurizio cattelan

small little collector’s items such as a dice, notebooks and a lighter

a hankerchief and postcards are also a part of the goodies image © designboom

image © designboom

drawing of simon fujiwara’s large desk that sits in the nordic pavilion image © designboom

the contents list of the goody bag image © designboom

michael elmgreen and ingar dragset have been collaborating as an artist duo since 1995, and have exhibited in art institutions around the world, including the tate modern, london, museum für moderne kunst in frankfurt am main and the palais de tokyo, paris.

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