Mysterious exhibition in Rotterdam’s harbour

Submarine Wharf, photo: Freek van Arkel


Mysterious exhibition in Rotterdam’s harbour
Elmgreen & Dragset
The One & The Many
28 May – 25 September

In the summer of 2011 the Scandinavian art duo Elmgreen & Dragset will create a surreal exhibition in Rotterdam’s harbour. This is the second time that Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen and the Port of Rotterdam have joined forces for a large-scale project.

Following Atelier Van Lieshout’s successful exhibition last summer, it is now the turn of Elmgreen & Dragset to make a four-month-long exhibition in the former Submarine Wharf. Michael Elmgreen (Denmark 1961) and Ingar Dragset (Norway 1969) are known, among other things, for their Prada shop in the Texan desert. The exhibition is curated by guest curator Nicolette Gast, who is a member of the Port of Rotterdam’s Art Committee.

With ‘The One & The Many’ the Scandinavian artists will create an illusory and voyeuristic experience with a desolate atmosphere but with humorous elements. The installation, which comprises several elements, will transform the Submarine Wharf into an extraordinary place with a strong sense of the uncanny. During the opening of the exhibition in the Submarine Wharf on Saturday 28 May, the art work ‘It’s Never Too Late to Say Sorry’ by Elmgreen & Dragset will be unveiled on the Coolsingel. This ‘theatre sculpture’ will be on display in Rotterdam for a year.

Elmgreen & Dragset
This is Elmgreen & Dragset’s first solo exhibition in the Netherlands. The internationally renowned artists caused a stir in 2005 with their copy of a Prada shop in the Texan desert. Their project ‘The Collectors’ at the Venice Biennale in the 2009 also created a furore. They transformed the Nordic Pavilions into villas belonging to art collectors and filled them with paintings, sculptures and designer furniture. Staged installations provided information about the prosperous yet dramatic lives of the collectors. Elmgreen & Dragset adopt a critical position in relation to Western consumer culture. This has been evident in their exhibitions, such as ‘The Welfare Show’ in London and will also inform their work in Rotterdam.

Submarine Wharf
The almost 5000m2 Submarine Wharf from 1937 is of comparable size to the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern in London. Last summer Rotterdam-based Atelier Van Lieshout created an exhibition entitled ‘Infernopolis’ in the space around the Cradle to Cradle theme. The exhibition attracted more than twenty thousand visitors. The Dutch daily newspaper De Volkskrant described the exhibition as: ‘This summer’s undisputed art hit’.

The exhibition is one of the Port of Rotterdam’s initiatives to bring a broader public into contact with the harbour and to enhance the quality of people’s experience of the harbour area. The Submarine Wharf is part of the former RDM complex. The complex is currently being redeveloped with a focus on education, innovative industries and culture. The Port of Rotterdam and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen have formed an intensive partnership with the aim of presenting contemporary art projects in the Submarine Wharf for a period of five years.

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