Powerless Structures, Fig. 101. Photo: James O Jenkins
Their other works are equally thought provoking, and often force their audiences to reconsider every day experiences. Prada Marfa (2005), for instance, saw a Prada boutique replica placed in the Texan desert, and in 2003 Short Cut was installed in Milan, showing a car and caravan breaking out of the ground after an apparent trip to the centre of the earth.
Now the innovative pair are heading to the Whitechapel Gallery in London for their first major retrospective in the UK: This is How We Bite Our Tongue. The immersive exhibition, featuring a new large-scale site-specific installation, six new sculptures and 29 works created over 20 years of the artists’ collaboration, will explore the highly topical issue of gentrification, focusing on its widespread occurrence in East London, and the gradual loss of faith in public spaces.
Elmgreen & Dragset said: 'This is How We Bite Our Tongue is an exhibition about emotions held inside, not said out loud. It is about withdrawal and resignation, about absence and impermanence, the feeling of loss, of losing agency as well as community. But it is also about reconciliation and resilience'.
Modern Moses. Photo: Eric Gregory Powell
To achieve this, the entire ground-floor Gallery will be transformed to simulate spaces of loss, in an alternate world where they have been abandoned. This sentiment is found in pieces such as Pregnant White Maid, 2017, and One Day 2015, showing a young boy gazing at a rifle, which teeter between abuse and uncertainty, and curiosity and hope.
Their celebrated Self-Portraits series, dedicated to pieces inspired by the work of fellow contemporary artists, will also be on display. The exhibition will culminate with a showcase of figurative sculptures presented in a chapel-like atmosphere, which, according to the artists, ‘speak of misguided reverence and of judgement, lust and fear’.
One Day. Photo: Holger Honck
|What||Elmgreen & Dragset Whitechapel exhibition: This is How We Bite Our Tongue|
|Where||Whitechapel Gallery, 72-78 Whitechapel High Street, London, E1 7QX | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Aldgate East (underground)|
27 Sep 18 – 13 Jan 19, Monday: closed; Tuesday - Sunday: 11am - 6pm
|Website||Click here for more information|