Sunday, August 22, 2010

Bellevue, July 17th, 1994 (Cooling Box #5)

Michael Elmgreen & Ingar Dragset

When Damien Hirst made Hymn (1996), the 20-foot sculpture of an anatomical model toy, his fabricator hesitated painting over the expensive, labor-intensive, impeccable bronze. Hirst's final justification was that the paint on the outdoor sculpture would be like skin, and eventually be worn down by the elements as such.

Elmgreen & Dragset is a couple living and working in Berlin. The couple's collaborative work brings mischief to mind, but it's done so sweetly that their subversiveness becomes earnest gestures. One work is pictured above, a painted bronze sculpture of a cooler installed at the 2009 Venice Biennale. Perhaps the impetus of painting this bronze (and Hirst's) was simply the absurdity of making the material look plastic.