Elmgreen & Dragset - Study for Tailbone, 2021


Produced by Elmgreen & Dragset, 2021
Aluminum, lacquer, black marble plinth

Limited edition of 10 and 2 artist proof

42 x 27 x 26 cm / 16.5 x 10.6 x 10.2

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12 000,00 € Excluded VAT

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Study for Tailbone portrays a single vertebra, magnified in scale. Sleek and minimal in aesthetic, this work invites several layers of meaning and raises questions on our relationship with our bodies, evolution, and the tradition of sculpture itself. Standing isolated and amplified, the sculptural form is both organic and animalistic. Rendered even reptilian or archaeological in its enlargement, it humorously validates our biological evolution. In contrast to bodily presentations of rulers on horseback or proud workers, as the figurative sculptural tradition has established through history, Study for Tailbone shows what we all physically consist of - not from our external appearance, but from within. It offers a contemporary portrait of a human, neutrally and without indicators or gender, race or other socio-demographic variables: we are equalised here, by the base of our spine. Through its dual representation of both a part and a whole, this work also calls to question the limits of what can be insinuated through figurative art. Matte white and pedestalled, Study for Tailbone perhaps also draws links with the undulating and iconic forms of Modernist sculptures by Jean Arp or Henry Moore, who pared down the human form into sinuous structures. The sculpture has also been rendered in two scales by the artists, with Study for Tailbone being the more intimate in size.

The tailbone, integral to the spine and the support of every mammal on this earth, signifies strength and tenacity literally and linguistically. Isolated and exposed here, the vertebra also intimates vulnerability and fragility, introducing a dichotomy: a characteristic integral to the artistic approach of Elmgreen & Dragset, whose sculptures bring divergent concepts into complex appositions.