Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The weight of Oneself - Elmgreen & Dragset

What a great sculpture, and wonderful title!
It shows at first glance a very classic medium, marble, and a traditional scene or subject, with apparently a nude hero, but it is not so classic, and it is not a hero in the old meaning!

Photo Carlos Martin

Elmgreen & Dragset said that they 'use the language of classical sculpture in order to play with it'. During an interview, the artists explained : 'Many details will contribute to making our sculpture contemporary: the subject, the idea that this sculpture is evocative of the notion of looking after oneself, in different ways. The material used, as well as its scale will make it also very contemporary. The fact that it isn’t a sculpture on a human scale will emphasize its depth.'
Indeed they used powder marble, which is solidified. And the size or height is out of ordinary, with 2m70.
Photo Dufy
Regarding the sculpture title, they added that 'it will be representative of our contemporary culture. The work will not be celebrating a hero, nor someone pursuing a goal, or attempting to accomplish something. This will be the story of someone who is trying to save himself.'.

Photo Jacques Leone

Himself ? Yes, because if you look closely, you will see that the two faces (the one from the man standing, and the one from the dead man are the same. Spectators can wonder the various possible meanings of it. Souvenirs ? Mythology ? Philosophy ? Own responsibility ? Justice ?  Well, the sculpture is located just in front of the Palais de Justice !
Photo Terry Cooper
The two artists who created this sculpture are working together since 20 years, in Berlin, Germany, but one, Michael Elmgreen, was born in 1961 in Copenhagen (Denmark), and the other, Ingar Dragset, was born in 1968 in Trondheim (Norway).
Michael Elmgreen & Ingar Dragset by Henridraw
They often display their pieces in public space. In this case, the sculpture is almost on the water, facing the Palais de Justice in Lyon, and this location may not be a coincidence.

Photo Jan Bucholtz

Sources and more information:
Arttube video interview
Interview (written)

Video (the weight of Oneself)