After returning from years of war coverage, Peter van Agtmael tries to piece together the memory, identity, race, class, and family, in a landscape which has become as surreal as the war he left behind.
Elmgreen & Dragset have been working together since 1995 at the crossroads of art and architecture, performance and installation. Preoccupied with objects and their settings, and the discourse that can arise when those objects are radically recontextualized, Elmgreen & Dragset push against the normal modes for the display of art. Whether presenting sculptures or total environments, their work draws attention to the institutions that host them and their attendant politics. Performativity and participation are fraught in the work of Elmgreen & Dragset as their work invites and denies participation in equal measure (pools are emptied, diving boards are oriented vertically, bars are inaccessible, sinks dysfunctional). Quotidian objects are stripped of their utility and regarded as sculptural phenomena, taking on Minimalist aesthetics that challenge the sterilizing force of the white cube. In the same way, Elmgreen & Dragset’s outdoor public sculpture recontextualize the surroundings in which they are located, such as well-known projects like Van Gogh’s Ear at Rockefeller Plaza in New York or Prada Marfa along Highway 90 in the middle of the Texan desert.