please keep quiet
Michael Elmgreen & Ingar Dragset
September 12 - november 29 2003
Opening Friday September 12 from 17-19
It is a great pleasure to present 'Please, keep quiet!', a new installation
by Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset.
'Please, keep quiet!' is a large-scale installation that effectively
changes the room of the gallery to that of a hospital. Two doors
mark the transition point between the daily activities of the gallery
and the installation. Upon entering the visitors find themselves
surrounded by folding screens, medical equipment and wax figures
resembling different aged patients in hospital beds. Recreating
the antiseptic and solemn atmosphere of the hospital, the installation
'Please, keep quiet!' draws on a minimalist aesthetics but offer
at the same time a surprising realism.
The critique of the white cube as a special privileged exhibition
space has been an artistic practise since 1960s. In recent years
however, it has been a growing aim among younger artists to transform
the white cube itself. Elmgreen and Dragset continue this by inquiring
into the conditions affecting art spaces as public spaces- cunningly
exposing the substantive blind spots.
The merging of the gallery with the hospital seems both seamless
and highly confrontational. Aesthetically the sterile and depersonalised
architecture and environment of the hospital find their parallels
in the intended neutrality of the white cube exhibition space. The
muted colours and the uncompromised surfaces are a prerequisite
of the both. As made apparent by the installation, the way the two
places function as public spaces are however very different. Contemplating
art in the gallery is an enjoyable recreational practice whereas
the hospital is only reluctantly entered either as patient or visitor.
Functioning as a display case for the vicissitudes of the human
body, the hospital offers little but a depressing insight in change
and inconstancy. This passing is negated in the white cube that
traditionally acts as a static environment conserving the physical
state of the art and celebrating its transcendental qualities.
In the installation 'Please, keep quiet!' hospital and gallery act
as interwoven opposites. As Elmgreen and Dragset fuse the transitory
with the unchanging, a new ambiguous space arises. Neither gallery
nor hospital, this new (an)aesthetic room is the lapse in between.
During the last years Elmgreen and Dragset have been working with
intervention and modification of the white cube. 'Please, keep quiet!'
is an extension of the ideas already present in the "Powerless Structures"
series. The all encompassing scale of the new installation functions
as a logical conclusion.
Claus Robenhagen September 3 2003
We are happy to welcome you in the gallery.
Galleri Nicolai Wallner