Unveiling of It’s Never Too Late to Say Sorry

Just before 12:00 on the 28th of May, a new sculpture will be unveiled on the Coolsingel. Commissioned by Sculpture International Rotterdam (SIR), Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset developed the work It’s Never Too Late to Say Sorry (2011).

The unveiling will be held on the same day as the opening of the first large retrospective of this artist duo’s work in the Netherlands: The One & The Many in the Onderzeebootloods (Submarine Wharf) of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam.

It’s Never Too Late to Say Sorry is part of Sculpture International Rotterdam’s art programme for the Coolsingel axis. A major part of the Rotterdam collection of modern, international artwork is located on the Coolsingel. Over the past few years, the collection has been developed further, and will be expanded even more in the coming years with the addition of current works of international allure. Twelve artists were invited to explore the past, present and future of the Coolsingel. The works Cascade by Joep van Lieshout, The Idler’s Playground by Cosima von Bonin and GRRR Jamming Squeak by Paola Pivi may now be admired on the Coolsingel, along with numerous smaller, interactive projects.

Soon to join these other works will be the illustrious sculpture It’s Never Too Late to Say Sorry which consists of a carefully designed museological display case containing a polished, stainless steel megaphone on a granite pedestal. Every day, a man will appear at the display case, open the door, take out the megaphone, and blare out over the Coolsingel: “It’s never too late to say sorry”. This performance will be repeated at 12:00 sharp, every afternoon, for one year starting on the day of the opening. The Scandinavian duo Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset first achieved fame with a series of works entitled Powerless Structures, in which they mock the conventions of the stereotypical white cube as an exhibition space, by portraying gallery spaces which had been turned upside down, sunk into the ground, or hung from the ceiling. Their sizeable, theatrical installations zero in on the social codes attached to public spaces in cities or museums. Using a mix of architecture, design and performance art, they create alienating, spatial installations. During their much-talked about participation in the 2009 Venice Biennale, they transformed two pavilions into a home of art collectors in which macabre scenes were enacted. They invited twenty artists to each exhibit one work. In doing so, they intentionally drew an ironic connection between the Biennale as an institute of the arts, the art market, and the world of power and wealth.

It’s Never Too Late to Say Sorry also targets the conventions of the art world. In a glass case of the type frequently found in cities as a shopkeeper’s display case, instead of artwork, one finds a megaphone which is used to make a personal, political and everyday appeal to the anyone who happens to casually pass by. You could call it a ‘powerless gesture’. The sculpture has been placed in front of the former main post office on the Coolsingel: a large, empty space where the solid, stately buildings of City Hall and the post office serve as a backdrop for the sculpture, and a location where many people pass by every day.

From 28 May to 25 September 2011 at the Submarine Wharf in the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, this will be the duo’s first solo exhibition in the Netherlands. With The One & The Many, the Scandinavian artists create an illusory, voyeuristic experience enshrouded in a desolate atmosphere, which, at the same time, also incorporates various humorous elements. Consisting of several components, the installation will transform the wharf into an exceptional location, and one that evokes a strong effect of alienation.

Publicatiedatum: 12/05/2015