Michael Elmgreen & Ingar Dragset

The contemporary artists discuss how they turned a Berlin water pumping station into a multifunctional studio.

"We were looking for a place that could meet many different needs."

Since their creative partnership began in 1995, contemporary artists Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset have based their collaborations on breaking down the barriers between public and private spaces. “The conventional notion of what’s considered public and private is a social construct that we’ve inherited from past generations and needs to be constantly reevaluated,” Michael says. When they saw an advertisement for a water pumping station in Berlin’s Neukölln neighborhood 10 years ago, they adopted this concept while developing their own uniquely structured space. For years, the building sat unclaimed on an unassuming residential street adjacent to a small overgrown meadow covering the former reservoir behind it. It had remained empty because no one could imagine how to app...

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