Subtle sense of humor combined with solid critical implications unite the next pair of artistic collaborations, whose projects will be discussed in detail by lecturer Irina Kulik.
In Ways of Curating (2015), Hans Ulrich Obrist ‘blames’ his meeting with Peter Fischli (b. 1952) and David Weiss (1946–2012) in 1985 for his decision to become a curator. The Swiss duo worked together for over twenty years, since the late 1970s (and before that, Weiss had had a successful solo career, with a number of books and shows to his name). Since their very first collaborations (the Wurstserie, 1979, and Suddenly This Overview, 1981), the artists have been favored by critics and loved by audiences for the smooth parody inherent in their diverse body of work, which includes sculpture and photography, film and video art, installations and artist books. At the Venice Biennale centenary (1995), they were invited to do the Swiss pavilion, while in 2003 they received the “Golden Lion” for Questions—the best project of the main exhibition Utopia Station, curated by Rirkrit Tiravania. As well as participating in Documenta and Skulptur-Projekte Münster, Fischli and Weiss have been exhibited at the world’s major museums and galleries, including an important retrospective at Tate Modern in 2006 and the recent comprehensive survey of their partnership, organized by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York (2016), following David Weiss’s untimely death in 2012.
Elmgreen & Dragset (Michael Elmgreen, b. 1961 and Ingar Dragset, b. 1969) are a Scandinavian duo, who work on the intersection of visual art, design and architecture. While focusing on the socially relevant issues, the Berlin-based duo always remain committed to their signature humor and style. One of Elmgreen & Dragset’s boldest projects was a parody of a life-size PRADA boutique—with logos on its exterior and some PRADA goods inside—installed in the middle of the Texan desert. Over the past twenty years, the artists have created a great number of similarly critical and kitschy works across the world. They co-curated the joint Danish, Swedish and Norwegian pavilion at the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009, having invited over a dozen artists representing various generations and regions to participate in The Collectors project. Elmgreen & Dragset are also known for their strong public-art commissions. In 2003 their memorial to the homosexual victims of the Nazi regime was unveiled in Berlin’s Tiergarten, while in 2011, their sculpture Powerless Structures, fig. 1 was selected to decorate the Fourth Plinth in London’s Trafalgar Square.