Secondary, 2015

Basel 2016
Galería Helga de Alvear
mixed-media sound installation; dimensions variable; unique
In Elmgreen & Dragset’s installation Secondary, a space mirrors itself from the center: orderly rows of black chairs and two black auctioneer podiums, one at each end, create the setting of a doubled auction house room. However, there is no auctioneer present, no audience, and no artwork on display. The only sign of life is a modified and edited recording of a contemporary art auction. The sound of two auctioneers’ voices echo each other throughout the space, waging a war of bids, with numbers and names swirling around in the air, turning the auction itself into an absurd theater play. This cacophonous soundtrack makes it almost unbearable for the visitor to stay in the room for an extended amount of time. The word ‘secondary’ can be defined as something that is not as important or valuable as something else; it can also refer to the art world’s secondary market. Lot, the title of the artists’ 2015 exhibition at Galería Helga de Alvear in which Secondary was first shown, cites the term used to refer to a single item or group of items sold in an auction sale, but it can also refer to a person’s ‘lot in life,’ or fate