International Biennial of Contemporary Art Ljubljana,
23 June - 24 September 2000
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Cankarjev Dom
M1 & M2
Michael Elmgreen & Ingar Dragset
  collaborating since 1995

Powerless Structures, fig. 88, 2000

In 1995 Michael Elmgreen & Ingar Dragset began their collaboration on what has since become a wide range of performance installations and environmental works. In a series entitled Powerless Structures, the artistic duo challenges conventional perceptions of space: Architectural and social structures are reorganised in order to investigate the underlying desires of everyday objects and the mechanisms of ideological control even in simple arrangements of walls, ceilings and floors, entrances and exits. "Space in Elmgreen and Dragset's work doesn't announce itself, it has to be brought out, challenged by the mundane presence of the activities that frame it; it begs you to perform. Rather: It makes you perform, because it analogises several types of behaviour." (Lars Bang Larsen) Derived from Michel Foucault's theories on structures and their inability to suppress or impose power in themselves - any structure can be altered, interchanged or replaced - the projects in the Powerless Structures - series often propose a possibility of actual change: change of social conditions on a small scale; an alteration of stereotypical modernistic architecture or the projects which accentuates the options for alternative ways of presenting art within the museum/gallery. The emphasis is on the deconstruction and reconstruction of meaning in predetermined or institutionalised spaces. Opposites such as public and private, inside and outside, functional and dysfunctional undergo a revaluation in a twisted universe of displacements. Powerless Structures, Fig. 88 is the project shown at Manifesta 3. A private gallery is constituted within the context of the public exhibition. A box-shaped room is designed as an active gallery space in which all the "art dealer" activities will take place, ranging from a program of smaller solo shows (in contrast to the large group exhibition) to daily business routines, such as administration and sales. The shows that will be on display throughout the duration of Manifesta 3 will be selected not by the curatorial team of Manifesta but by a team of young, local gallerists who will have the chance to launch their professional careers. The space is constructed of three white walls and a transparent glass facade, and the 36-square-meter box is divided into two sections, an office area and a showroom for art presentations. The gallery itself becomes a sculptural object by being transferred into the pre-existing exhibition hall of the Museum of Modern Art.

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