Conference : 18 – 27 January 2006

The Art of Welfare

The artists Michael Elmgreen (b. 1961, Denmark) and Ingar Dragset (b. 1969, Norway) have collaborated since 1995 on the production of powerless structures - sculptural installations that perform institutional critique in relation to sexual and other political identities. The Welfare Show, originally produced at Bergen Kunsthall in Norway in 2005, addresses aspects of welfare society, as implemented in the Scandinavian model of a democratic society. This model, engineered and marketed in the 1950s, has steadily deteriorated since the 1970s in response to a globalized economy. The Art of Welfare is a one-day conference, in tandem with the opening of The Welfare Show at the Serpentine Gallery in London, that will explore artistic and political aspects of The Welfare Show.

Topics include: politics as content and the politics of artistic form; the Scandinavian model of welfare as a socio-spatial form of experience; the current viability of the welfare state and its possible future forms; and institutional critique and relational aesthetics.

The Art of Welfare is supported by the Office for Contemporary Art Norway and organized by OCA in cooperation with The Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy, Middlesex University, London and the Serpentine Gallery, London. Additional support has been provided by the Serpentine Gallery, The Royal Norwegian Embassy in London, the Goethe Institut, and the British Council.