Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset, both born in the 1960s in Scandinavia (respectively in Denmark and Norway) have been working together since 1995. Whitechapel Gallery, one of the leading art spaces in London, dedicates its fall exhibition to a survey of their fruitful collaboration.

Elmgreen & Dragset Elmgreen & Dragset. Photo: Clint Spaulding. ©Patrick McMullan.

Working across installation, sculpture and painting, Elmgreen & Dragset have shaken up the art world on more than one occasion, starting from the installation of a Prada boutique in the Texas desert in 2005. Then, they took over the Victoria & Albert Museum in 2013 showcasing the imaginary house of an architect, installed a mammoth swimming pool sculpture, Van Gogh’s Ear, at the Rockefeller Centre in New York in 2016 and curated the Istanbul Biennial in 2017.

Van Gogh’s Ear (2016), Elmgreen & Dragset Van Gogh’s Ear (2016), Elmgreen & Dragset. Courtesy König Gallery.

Titled “This Is How We Bite Our Tongue”, the Whitechapel gallery exhibition spans twenty years of work. It will feature a selection of the pair’s Self-Portraits quoting their influences, and several hyper-realistic sculptures such as Modern Moses (presenting a baby in a cot abandoned at a cash machine). Last but not least, a new large-scale installation meditating on the fate of civic space will be commissioned.

White Maid (2014), Elmgreen & Dragset White Maid (2014), Elmgreen & Dragset. Courtesy König Gallery.

The show’s curator Laura Smith promises a retrospective that will “interrogate issues around public and private space, individual and collective responsibility and societal politics, […] employing the theatricality and emotional pull that exists in so much of the duo’s work.”

White Chapel Gallery White Chapel Gallery. Photo: Guy Montagu-Pollock. Courtesy White Chapel Gallery

The opening coincides with Frieze London, and is sure to draw a crowd. Raise your hand if you are looking forward to it!