LONDON.- This Summer, Denmarks national icon The Little Mermaid has a new male counterpart. Situated on the harbour in the city of Elsinore, Han is the latest sculptural project by duo Elmgreen & Dragset, the artists behind the current Fourth Plinth sculpture in Trafalgar Square, London.
Han depicts a young man positioned on a stone by the seaside - just like his famous sister The Little Mermaid in Copenhagen. The new sculpture has been created in contemporary materials: both the male figure and the stone have been cast in polished stainless steel, mirroring the surroundings in the sculptures curved surface thereby creating a distorted imagery reminiscent of a psychedelic aesthetic. With true Elmgreen & Dragset chicanery and courtesy of a hydraulic mechanism, the eyes of the sculpture will close for a split second once every hour just one blink before it becomes a traditional static statue once more. Han is highly-anticipated in Denmark due to its prominent permanent location in Elsinore, the historic setting of Shakespeares Hamlet. Commissioned by the city of Elsinore and funded by The Danish National Arts Council, Han will stand on the harbour in front of the Castle of Kronborg, a UNESCO world heritage site.
Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset, based in Berlin and London, have worked together as an artist duo since 1995. They have held numerous solo exhibitions in art institutions worldwide, including Serpentine Gallery and Tate Modern in London, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam, ZKM Museum of Modern Art in Karlsruhe, The Power Plant in Toronto, MUSAC in Léon, and Kunsthalle Zürich. Their work has been included in the Berlin, Sao Paulo, Gwangju, Moscow, Singapore and Istanbul biennials, and in 2009 they received a special mention for their exhibition The Collectors in the Nordic and Danish Pavilions at the 53rd Venice Biennale. Amongst their most well known works are Prada Marfa a full scale replica of a Prada boutique in the middle of the Texan desert, and Short Cut a car and a caravan breaking through the ground which was first shown in Milan and now resides in the collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Upcoming projects include the Scandinavian debut of their play "Happy Days in the Art World", a Performa Commission that premiered in New York, at the Bergen International Festival and the Royal Danish Theatre in Copenhagen in Summer 2012.
In Autumn 2012 Elmgreen & Dragset will participate in the Liverpool Biennial and in Autumn 2013 they will have a major exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.
Elsinore is located on the northeast coast of the island of Zealand in eastern Denmark, a 45 minute drive north of Copenhagen, with a population of just over 61,000. The city's historically significant harbour is currently being developed into a new cultural and leisure area that aims to strengthen Elsinore's role as an international cultural centre.