East Contemporary

Plateau: Elmgreen & Dragset “Aeroport Mille Plateaux”

Seoul, June 23 – October 18, 2015, Plateau (Samsung), Seoul, http://www.plateau.or.kr

IMG_20150911_163022This show was a perfect match for Plateau’s space: Elmgreen & Dragset transformed Plateau into an airport-themed exhibition space, and in fact they only needed to add some small touches to complete the “transformation” of this space which in itself feels very similar to a modern cool airport design.

Originally I was expecting a more thorough transformation, but when visiting I realized that the similarity between an airport and the Samsung space was one of the reasons Elmgreen & Dragset came forward with this proposal.

The show featured some custom-made elements, but also some already previously exhibited artwork that happened to fit in with the airport theme.

The works in itself, were about as memorable as the design and artwork one encounters at a real airport: Something one rather glances over than focuses on. Elmgreen & Dragset tried to work against this by presenting similar, yet slightly modified version of familiar objects or unfitting juxtapositions. For example a circular “Inverted Bar” (with taps facing outwards), or a Giacometti-like sculpture being wrapped in protective foil as one does with suitcases.

Overall, the connection between the actual gallery space and the installation as a whole was the most memorable experience of the show. For a while, I sat down on the ready-made airport lounge waiting seats placed in the exhibition space. They were slightly reverberating probably via the floor from some air conditioning or compressor. The slight hum, together with the exhibition-made fake “airport announcements” made the situation really indistinguishable from a real airport – when one closed one’s eyes. I realized that putting a few rows of empty airport lounge seats together with the correct soundtrack was probably all that was needed to recreate the feeling of an airport. The rest was a nice decoration.

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