Sculpture + Design

2019 Nasher Prize Dialogues |  Location: Copenhagen

Taking place in Copenhagen, Denmark, one of the design capitals of the world, Nasher Prize Dialogues: Sculpture + Design this panel discussion explored hybrid sculptural forms with artists Nina BeierMartin Boyce, and Michael Elmgreen (Elmgreen & Dragset), and the ways in which each deploy architecture and design within their own artistic practices, from altered readymades to architectural interventions to highly crafted recreations of the built environment. The conversation moderator was Nasher Prize juror, art historian and critic Briony Fer.

Watch the Conversation

Moderator / Briony Fer, professor of art history at University College London
Briony Fer is professor of art history at University College London. She has written extensively on diverse topics of 20th century and contemporary art, and on contemporary artists, such as Gabriel Orozco, Vija Celmins, Jean-Luc Moulène, Roni Horn, Ed Ruscha, and Rachel Whiteread. Her books include Gabriel Orozco: Thinking in Circles; Eva Hesse Studiowork; The Infinite Line: Re-making Art after Modernism; and On Abstract Art.


Nina Beier was born in 1975 in Aarhus, Denmark, and lives and works in Berlin. Beier has had one-person exhibitions at the Kunstverein in Hamburg; David Roberts Art Foundation, London; Objectif Exhibitions, Antwerp; Kunsthaus Glarus, Switzerland; Nottingham Contemporary, United Kingdom; Mostyn, Llandudno, United Kingdom; Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen; and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco. Her work has been included in group exhibitions at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Tate Modern, London; CCA Wattis, San Francisco; Musée d’Art Moderne, Paris; KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin; Artists Institute, New York; Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin; Swiss Institute, New York; and the Power Station, Shanghai. Her performance-installation Anti-ageing was commissioned by Performa 15 and later staged as part of ICA London’s Art Night in 2016. She has been awarded the Prize of the Böttcherstraße, and her work was included in 13th Biennale de Lyon and the 20thBiennale of Sydney.

Martin Boyce is an artist whose sculptural works recall and reference the materials, textures and forms of the built urban environment. Using the iconography of both the everyday and the history of modern architecture and design, his sculptural installations form immersive environments and poetic landscapes. Martin Boyce was born in Hamilton, Scotland in 1967. He studied at Glasgow School of Art 1986 -1990 (BFA) and 1995 -1997 (MFA) and California Institute of the Arts 1996 (MFA exchange program). Boyce represented Scotland at the Venice Biennale 2009 with the exhibition No Re?ections and was the winner of the 2011 Turner Prize. His recent solo exhibitions include The Light Pours Out, Esther Schipper Gallery, Berlin (2018); Hanging Gardens, A4 Museum in Chengdu, China (2018); Light Years, The Modern Institute, Glasgow (2017); and Sleeping Chimneys. Dead Stars, Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York (2017). Martin Boyce lives and works in Glasgow and is a professor at HFBK Hamburg.

Elmgreen & Dragset have been working together since 1995 at the crossroads of art and architecture, performance and installation. Preoccupied with objects and their settings, and the discourse that can arise when those objects are radically recontextualized, Elmgreen & Dragset push against the normal modes for the display of art. Whether presenting sculptures or total environments, their work draws attention to the institutions that host them and their attendant politics. Performativity and participation are fraught in the work of Elmgreen & Dragset as their work invites and denies participation in equal measure (pools are emptied, diving boards are oriented vertically, bars are inaccessible, sinks dysfunctional). Quotidian objects are stripped of their utility and regarded as sculptural phenomena, taking on Minimalist aesthetics that challenge the sterilizing force of the white cube. In the same way, Elmgreen & Dragset’s outdoor public sculpture recontextualize the surroundings in which they are located, such as well-known projects like Van Gogh’s Ear at Rockefeller Plaza in New York or Prada Marfa along Highway 90 in the middle of the Texan desert.

CHART is the leading event for contemporary art in the Nordics, located at Kunsthal Charlottenborg and Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art in the heart of Copenhagen. The fair presents visitors with an exclusive collective presentation of the best galleries in the Nordic art scene. In providing audiences with a single entry point to the Nordic gallery scene, CHART creates a rare opportunity to experience the highest quality contemporary art in the Nordic region today. For more information, visit

About Nasher Prize Dialogues

The discussion is part of Nasher Prize Dialogues, the discursive platform of the Nasher Prize, the annual international prize for a living artist in recognition of a body of work that has had an extraordinary impact on the understanding of sculpture. The Dialogues are intended to foster international awareness of sculpture and to stimulate discussion and debate. Programs—including panel discussions, lectures, and symposia—are held in cities around the world on a yearly basis, offering engagement with various audiences, and providing myriad perspectives and insight into the ever-expanding field of sculpture. 

Previous international Nasher Prize Dialogues programs include Artists and Authorship in partnership with The Common Guild, Glasgow in association with Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art 2018; The Public Place of Sculpture at Museo Jumex, Mexico City; The Work of Sculpture in the Age of Digital Production at the Akademie der Künste, Berlin; and Why Sculpture Now? at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, in partnership with the Henry Moore Foundation.


Nasher Prize Dialogues: Sculpture + Design is made possible through the support of Alden and Janelle Pinnell.

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