The installation The Future from 2014 was originally shown at Tel Aviv Museum of Art as part of Elmgreen & Dragset’s solo exhibition ‘Powerless Structures’ in 2016. Part of a trilogy of solo exhibitions by Elmgreen & Dragset, it was shown at the museum in Tel Aviv and at the Astrup Fearnley Museet (Astrup Fearnley Museum) in Oslo and SMK, the National Gallery of Denmark. The trilogy was titled Biography, and the exhibitions at the three venues were all different. The Future was one of the few pieces to be featured in all three settings.
Challenging the museum space
‘Powerless Structures’ was Elmgreen & Dragset’s first exhibition in Israel. With it, the duo sought to challenge the traditional exhibition concept, in part through an unconventional presentation of the exhibits. Thus, the exhibition was not presented in a single hall but distributed throughout the museum. The Future was placed centrally in the museum’s main exhibition hall alongside two other pieces. First, visitors were confronted by the site-specific installation For as Long as It Lasts, a precise replica of the Berlin Wall. The wall bisected the exhibition hall in a clear illustration of the political impact of a dividing wall. Like the historical Berlin Wall, the current wall dividing Gaza from Israel and the American President Donald Trump’s envisioned wall on the border between the United States and Mexico. Elmgreen & Dragset see the wall as a short-sighted solution that fails to solve any problems.
Our shared future
Behind the wall was the installation The Future, a fire escape construction where a figure – a young lad in jeans and a hoodie – is sitting behind the bars of the iron banister. He is looking down, lost in thought but still taking in the world around him. The lower part of the fire escape is concealed from view by the big wall. What might he be looking at? His legs are dangling in the air, he seems absent during a vulnerable moment in between childhood and youth. The title of the installation, The Future, seems charged with both pathos and irony.
Tel Aviv Museum of Art is Israel’s first art museum, founded in 1932. TAMA, as it is also known, presents modern and contemporary art. The museum was founded by the first Mayor of Tel Aviv, Meir Dizengoff, and was originally housed in his private home. TAMA has its own collection and presents both local and international artists.
About Elmgreen & Dragset
Danish Michael Elmgreen (b. 1961) and Norwegian Invgar Dragset (b. 1969) have been working together since the mid 1990s and are currently based in Berlin. Elmgreen & Dragset mainly express themselves in installations, performances and architecture. They challenge and reinterpret the commonplace and familiar through a lens of socio-critical humour. Elmgreen & Dragset represented Denmark and Norway at the Venice Biennale in 2009 with the piece The Collectors, which attracted considerable attention. The duo is represented in many museums both in Denmark and abroad.