Elmgreen & Dragset turn high finance on its head

The art duo’s new installation, City in the Sky, offers an unusual view of international banking
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Elmgreen & Dragset, City in the Sky (2019), courtesy of Art Basel Hong Kong, the artists and the galleries @kukjegallery @massimodecarlogallery @galerieperrotin
Elmgreen & Dragset, City in the Sky (2019), courtesy of Art Basel Hong Kong, the artists and the galleries @kukjegallery @massimodecarlogallery @galerieperrotin

If you’ve visited any big, booming Asian city over the past ten or so years, you may have come across a new term to describe a novel part of that urban environment: the central business district.

This odd new financial neighbourhood is the inspiration for Nordic art duo Elmgreen & Dragset’s new work, City in the Sky. Installed at this year’s Art Basel Hong Kong – which runs 29 – 31 March 2019 – the new work “manifests an imaginary city in a scaled model, installed upside-down,” explains the artists’ gallery, Perrotin. “Inspired by the new financial centres of megacities such as Hong Kong, Shanghai, and London, it offers a kaleidoscopic overview of a fictional urban landscape with illuminated skyscrapers.”

 

Detail from Elmgreen & Dragset, City in the Sky (2019), courtesy of Art Basel Hong Kong, the artists and the galleries @kukjegallery @massimodecarlogallery @galerieperrotin
Detail from Elmgreen & Dragset, City in the Sky (2019), courtesy of Art Basel Hong Kong, the artists and the galleries @kukjegallery @massimodecarlogallery @galerieperrotin

Why upside down? Well, Elmgreen & Dragset aren’t unconcerned with the role high finance plays in the art world.

“There’s so much art going on without these enormous sums of money that collectors give institutions that want to make another addition to their already big spaces. It’s a choice,” says Michael Elmgreen in our new book on the artists." If the art world is going to be a place that we can justify to the larger population in the future, we need to clean it up, change our behaviour. Contemporary art sometimes can be a symbol of inequality. What are we in the art world contributing today? That is what we need to question.”

Standing under this cluster of towers, it’s hard not to question the artworld's topsy turvy relationship with those on the ground staring up - or is it down - at these glittering towers.

 

Ingar Dragset and Michael Elmgreen
Ingar Dragset and Michael Elmgreen

For more on Elmgreen & Dragset’s work, life and outlook order a copy of our new Contemporary Artist Series book dedicated to the duo.

 

Elmgreen & Dragset


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