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Room Service

Elmgreen & Dragset

John Armleder

16.03.2023 | 13.05.2023
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MASSIMODECARLO is pleased to announce Room Service, a collaborative exhibition between Scandinavian artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset and Swiss artist John Armleder. The artists have reimagined Casa Corbelinni-Wasserman with spatial interventions, creating a dreamlike universe that invites viewers to create new and twisted associations.

In this new exhibition, Elmgreen & Dragset and John Armleder treat this historic home as a canvas for experimentation. Their artworks interact with the existing interiors in a way that creates an eerie domestic atmosphere, at one point becoming almost psychedelic. With their use of mundane, readymades, hyperrealism and minimal geometric abstraction, the artists challenge the grand bourgeois setting. With artefacts, sculptures, paintings, and designs, the artists have created several immersive environments where each room tells its own story.

The initial inspiration for Room Service stems from Elmgreen & Dragset’s long-standing admiration for Armleder’s work. The three artists, who first met in the early 2000s, share a passion for everyday objects and their versatility. The duo's works, together with the Swiss artist, are alluring and engaging while also subverting the conventional expectations of art. It is as if the entire enterprise of contemporary art with its many systems quietly amuses them, yet they remain committed to pushing the boundaries of what it can be.

The artists also share a fascination with domestic spaces. For the 2009 Venice Biennale, Elmgreen & Dragset transformed the Danish and Nordic Pavilions into two collectors' homes. At the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2013, they created a grand apartment in the former textile galleries and, most recently, in their 2022 exhibition Useless Bodies? at Fondazione Prada, they presented an inhospitable and futuristic domestic setting inhabited by post-industrial age superfluous bodies.

Armleder’s fascination with domestic spaces has more to do with décor itself. The Swiss artist sees art as an imitation of life, and he draws inspiration from a range of sources outside of the art world, such as high and low design, popular culture and avant-garde music. In some of his Furniture Sculpturepieces, the artist uses furniture as both subject and material, creating artworks that challenge our notions of what is functional and what is purely aesthetic. In these sculptures, chairs, tables, lamps, and other household items are transformed into abstract forms that call to mind the work of the Suprematists and Constructivists.

The three artists bring their shared affinities to bear in a subtle artistic dialogue. At MASSIMODECARLO, the visitor will come across the uncanny presence of a child figure, kneeling in the middle of the room, drawing one of Armleder's paintings on a sheet of paper. This kind of conversation between the duo and the Swiss artist is present in every space.

Now and then, there will be another protagonist that inhabits the gallery's rooms. Room Service comes alive with an enigmatic presence resembling a grown-up version of the young boy.

Through this merging of their practices, Room Service immerses the visitor in a world where nothing is as it seems, where the boundary between art and everyday life is blurred, and where the act of creation becomes a collaborative, playful and thought-provoking endeavour.