Untitled, 2011 By Elmgreen & Dragset (All Photos By Gail)
The Flag Art Foundation is currently hosting Changing Subjects, a solo exhibition by internationally acclaimed Scandinavian artists Elmgreen & Dragset. Changing Subjects, designed by the artists, presents new and existing works from the duo’s twenty-year-long collaboration that address existential issues linked to identity, sexuality, and mortality, as well as an examination of social value systems and the expectations that surround them.
Changing Subjects investigates the multiple meanings of the word “subject” as a noun. In grammatical terms, the subject can be a noun functioning as one of the main components of a clause, making it the element about which the rest of the clause is predicated. In turn, the predicate is the part of a sentence or clause that expresses what is said of the subject on its own. In the context of Changing Subjects, the subject of each work exists independently of the others, yet when viewed together, they shift positions, creating a complex interconnection between the autonomous works.
The works in the exhibition, ranging in date of creation from 1998 to 2016, collectively guide visitors on a non-linear journey through various life stages. However, the sculptures and installations do not mark momentous occasions; on the contrary, they show introspective, unspectacular moments, by way of a figurative representation, by the use of a minimalist symbolic language, or by employing the actual materials to which they refer. Even when a lifelike human form is not shown, presence is implied through absence. The repeated use of an antiseptic material like stainless steel underscores a sense of a clinical study and evokes solitary feelings of abandonment.
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