Selling the V&A

Forthcoming V&A exhibition questions London’s property bubble


A 25-metre hoarding outside the V&A announces that this “unique property at [a] prime cultural heritage location” is for sale. However, before “Angry of Tunbridge Wells” erupts, it must be added that the advert is just a stunt. The poster is for a major new installation named Tomorrow – Elmgreen & Dragset at the V&A.


The V&A’s hoarding announces that a refurbished 6000 square foot property is for sale through the fictional company Crown Property Investment Group (© V&A Images)


The vision of Scandinavian duo Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset, who previously installed a fake Prada boutique on a desolate ranch in Texas, the exhibition has involved transforming the museum’s former textile galleries into an apartment “belonging to a fictional elderly and disillusioned architect” named Norman Swann.


One of the rooms in the exhibition is a grand drawing-cum-dining room (© Elmgreen & Dragset, photography Anders Sune Berg, courtesy of the artists and Victoria Miro)
Norman Swann’s umade bed is a lot more appealing than Tracey Emin’s (© Elmgreen & Dragset, photography Anders Sune Berg, courtesy of the artists and Victoria Miro)

Visitors to the free exhibition – which runs from the 1st October to 2nd January 2014 – will be encouraged to sit on the sofas and read the inhabitant’s books and magazines. Presumably they won’t be able to sleep in the owner’s bed but of why he created it, Michael Elmgreen told London’s Evening Standard:


“It’s a very strong political comment. I think there’s something wrong with this city that can almost be traced back to the real estate market… Not many people who work in central London can afford to live in central London. This hysterical boom in real estate prices is doing so much harm… [There should be rent controls] but Boris Johnson would never introduce those”.


Given such comments, this plainly isn’t a property that Russian oligarchs and the likes of the Candy brothers will be rushing to bid on. Hold the cheque books.



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