Elmgreen & Dragset: Trilogy

Cover of the publication »Elmgreen & Dragset: Trilogy«

Type of publication
Exhibition catalog, Anthology
Author / Editor
Peter Weibel and Andreas Beitin (Eds.)
Publishing house, place
Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, Köln

Throughout their career, Elmgreen & Dragset have redefined the ways in which art is presented and experienced. In 2006, their »Welfare Show« at the Serpentine Gallery invited viewers to consider societal power structures, including economic disparity, health care, immigration, the increased use of surveillance in public space and the role art plays in society. The duo were awarded a 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 2010 work »Celebrity- The One & the Many« addresses society’s obsession with celebrity culture and its effect on the individual and communities alike. 

These projects are documented here in scores of color illustrations, showing how the artists' sculptures and installations reconfigure the familiar with characteristic wit and subversive humor. The book also includes interviews by Elmgreen & Dragset, and with French philosopher Paul Virilio. 

Illustrated in color and black and white throughout. 

The three outstanding exhibitions featured in this publication form a trilogy: The »Welfare Show« (Bergen Kunsthall, Norway; BAWAG Foundation, Vienna; Serpentine Gallery, London; The Power Plant, Toronto), »The Collectors« (presented at the Danish and Nordic Pavilions at the 53rd Venice Biennale), and »Celebrity – The One & The Many« (ZKM | Museum of Contemporary Art, Karlsruhe). These exhibitions had a significant impact on the culture industry and consequently enjoyed an astounding presence in the media and in the art world. The artists Elmgreen & Dragset are well-known for their critical stance; this finds expression in subtle and shocking artworks full of acuity and wit. 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 in this ‘Trilogy’. 

Peter Weibel is an artist, curator, theoretician and CEO of the ZKM | Karlsruhe. 

Andreas F. Beitin is Curator and Head of ZKM | Museum of Contemporary Art.

381 p. : numerous ill.
Organization / Institution
ZKM | Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie, Karlsruhe

Bergen Kunsthall ; BAWAG P.S.K. Contemporary ; Serpentine Gallery ; The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery


Ministerium für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Kunst Baden-Württemberg ; Stadt Karlsruhe ;EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg AG ; OCA Office for Contemporary Art Norway ; Kunstrådet Danish Art Council