A Space Called Public

City of Munich

David Shrigley, Bubblesplatz, 2013. Part of the public art program A Space Called Public / Hoffentlich Öffentlich curated by Elmgreen & Dragset. Photo: Leonie Felle.

May 9, 2013

Elmgreen & Dragset
A Space Called Public /
Hoffentlich Öffentlich

January–September 2013

Munich, Germany

Special event with all projects on view: June 6, 2013
International press conference: June 6, 11 am
Lectures and panel discussions: June 7–8, June 15–16 & July 11–13

City Hall Gallery, Munich


At the invitation of the City of Munich, Elmgreen & Dragset have curated the ongoing exhibition A Space Called Public / Hoffentlich Öffentlich, which began in January and presents a series of art projects in Munich’s public spaces until the end of September.

The project aims to inspire a renewed debate about the concept of public space today. Like many other major European cities, Munich is confronted with the need to address the significance and value of public space as the relevance of the public sphere undergoes a potentially fundamental shift. Public space has traditionally functioned as a place of assembly, for exchanging ideas, and a forum for urban society. However, due to the impact of digital and social media, these activities are now increasingly moving into the virtual realm. Taking this technological and, by extension, social, shift as a starting-point, A Space Called Public / Hoffentlich Öffentlich poses questions concerning the redefinition of public space. How does a city constitute its own identity in 2013?

The program consists of performative, interactive and idea-based projects as well as other non-monumental statements. Its open structure is designed to take place over many months, creating space for curiosity, discovery and a dialogue with the public as the individual artistic strands evolve together. The exhibition features works by Iván Argote & Pauline Bastard, Han Chong, Funda, Stephen Hall & Li Li Ren, Robert Keil & Helin Alas, Martin Kippenberger, Ragnar Kjartansson, Alexander Laner, Namill, Henrik Olesen, Kirsten Pieroth, Ed Ruscha, David Shrigley, Sissel Tolaas, Tatiana Trouvé, Peter Weibel and Elmgreen & Dragset. A special event will take place on June 6 to mark the occasion of all projects being on view.

A series of lectures and panel discussions will accompany the exhibition at the City Hall Gallery on June 7–8, June 15–16 and July 11–13. The City Hall Gallery will also serve as an exhibition space, information point, and the starting location for tours of the various outdoor venues.

At the end of September the closing event of A Space Called Public / Hoffentlich Öffentlich will include the presentation of an extensive catalogue about public space and art in the public sphere.

Projects already on view:
A Space Called Public / Hoffentlich Öffentlich started on January 29 with Stephen Hall and Li Li Ren’s invitation for international artists to submit works for 4th Plinth Munich, a full-scale replica of London’s Trafalgar Square Fourth Plinth located in Wittelsbacherplatz. The jury selected Schöner Wohnen (Better Living) by Alexander Laner: an ambitious makeover which turns the plinth into an apartment for rent. Schöner Wohnen brings up questions about public and private space, referencing the current debate about the shortage of affordable housing.

Elmgreen & Dragset’s performance It’s Never Too Late To Say Sorry began on March 12 at Odeonsplatz. Daily at noon, a performer takes a megaphone out of a fixed glass case and announces in German, “It’s never too late to say sorry!” The performance, which was previously shown in Rotterdam and New York City, takes on a different meaning again in this historically significant setting.

Located across the street from the Hotel Bayerischer Hof on Promenadeplatz, David Shrigley’s work Bubblesplatz, a monument to Bubbles, Michael Jackson’s chimpanzee, was installed on April 16 and replicates the form of Munich’s “shrine” for Michael Jackson. Shrigley’s ironic commentary aims to provoke discussion about the role of monuments today.

The lack of Asian traditions in Munich’s cityscape is the focus of Han Chong’s Made in Dresden, a giant tilted Buddha figure in a gilded colour tone, inaugurated on May 8. The sculpture is located at Viktualienmarkt—a place famous for its German food specialities. With engraved lettering at the bottom stating ‘Made in Dresden,’ it clearly comments on cultural identity, but also hints at the phenomenon of outsourcing in today’s mass production of goods.

For further details please contact:
A Space Called Public
c/o Friends Factory
Brienner Straße 11 
D-80333 München

contact [​at​] aspacecalledpublic.de

A Space Called Public / Hoffentlich Öffentlich by Elmgreen & Dragset is an artistic project in public space funded by the City of Munich.


A Space Called Public, curated by Elmgreen & Dragset and presented by the City of Munich
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May 9, 2013

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