The Future, 2014 Elmgreen & Dragset
The Future (2014) by the artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset is a work that is open to new interpretations, depending on the time and place of its installation. In fact, its pathos- and irony-laden title evokes varying readings, depending on the viewer’s personal mood and the state of the world at any given moment.
The work was exhibited at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art as part of Elmgreen & Dragset’s exhibition Powerless Structures in 2016, at which it was only partially visible, since a 3.6-meters-high concrete replica of the Berlin Wall concealed its lower section.
Now, for the first time – when the future of the world seems shrouded in uncertainty – The Future can be seen in its entirety. The work consists of a metal fire-escape-like structure (of the kind commonly found at the rear of buildings in New York and other American cities), on which sits a youth, wearing jeans and a hoodie, his legs dangling in the air. One can imagine him as a character in the scene of a movie – one of any number of American movies in which a fire escape is the backdrop to events. He is gazing down, contemplative, withdrawn, vulnerable, and containing within him all the inherent possibilities of the future – his own, and in general. Israeli visitors, who saw the boy behind the Berlin Wall, can at least take comfort in the knowledge that walls also fall, and that the future also augurs good changes.
Michael Elmgreen (b. 1961, Copenhagen, Denmark) and Ingar Dragset (b. 1969, Trondheim, Norway) are among the most famous pairs of artists working in the world today. They have been working together since 1995, and have lived in Berlin since 1997. Their works – ranging from enormous installations to surprising interventions within museums – are conceptual in nature, yet at the same time feature biographical aspects, as well. In many ways, their modus operandi borrows features of curatorial practice.
The two have had many solo exhibitions, and have taken part in major group shows around the world. Among their notable exhibitions are The Collectors in the adjoining Nordic and Danish Pavilions, at the 53rd International Art Exhibition, la Biennale di Venezia, 2009; Celebrity: The One & The Many, at ZKM, Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, Germany, 2010; Tomorrow, at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2013; PLATEAU, at the Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul, in 2015; in 2017 they curated the 15th Istanbul Biennial; and in 2018 held an exhibition at at the Whitechapel Gallery in London.
Donated by the New Carlsberg Foundation and on behalf of the British Friends of the Art Museums of Israel