Elmgreen Dragset


What excites you the most about this year’s Venice Biennale?
Well to be completely honest we are relatively excited about how our double pavilion project is going to be received by the public. Also looking forward to see what Steve McQueen will show and of course the Arsenale, too.

What aspect of your project interests you the most?
We have turned the two pavilions into domestic settings—two neighboring private houses in each their style and ambience. They are inhabited by these two diverse eccentric collector types. One is a family who has now moved out and the house is put up for sale and in other house the mysterious Mister B. is living his hedonistic life style in a swanky bachelor’s pad. He is not only a collector of contemporary art and tasteful design furniture but he also passionately collects used swim wear of his ex-lovers.

Can you tell us about a particular challenge you faced while working on the Biennale?
The boredom of Venice where nothing happens when it is not biennial time. Over priced food and humidity. Even though we love the Nordic pavilion as it is now—its case-study house look-alike—there’s no way we are  gonna move to the Giardini. Ha!

How will this year’s Biennale differ from previous iterations?
Due to credit crunch there will be less champagne. Daniel Birnbaum also is closer in touch with a younger art scene than one could say about Robert Storr.

Do you think the global economic crisis has affected the Biennale? How so?
Less money always has its effect. But we don’t believe than any spiritual values are gained by having less money. That’s far too protestant.

Can you give us a few tips or tricks for navigating the Biennale or Venice?
Alberoni Beach is the only gay spot in Venice—on Sundays it almost looks like Ibiza. One can get licorice ice cream in Venice, too. Don’t bring your best shoes because after just a few days they are totally spoiled, no matter if it is hot and dusty or rainy and muddy. 

After Venice, what’s next?
A show during Fashion Week in September in Tokyo and a big solo next year at ZKM in Germany. But before that, a long holiday with cell phones.