Living Pictures: Dragging the Home into the Gallery

Olivier Vallerand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article examines the impact of the transposition of spaces understood as private in the public space of the gallery, using two projects at the intersection of art and architecture. The first, Mark Robbins's Households (2003–6), documents living spaces through a photographic exhibition and catalog. In its concept and formal resolution, Households questions popular assumptions about the relation between dwelling and dweller and the public meanings of these spaces. Robbins's work is compared to artists Elmgreen & Dragset's The Collectors, their large-scale installation for the 2009 Venice Biennale that transforms gallery pavilions into two fictitious domestic spaces for a family and a bachelor. By offering visits of unoccupied “lived” spaces, the artists question what is family space and confuse accepted symbols of domesticity by putting them out of context and blurring the usual limits between private and public acts and spaces. Both projects underline the performativity of space, but also highlight the difficulties of transferring these critiques in lived spaces, as the design of Elmgreen & Dragset's own house-studio shows.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-148
JournalInteriors: Design, Architecture, Culture
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • domesticity
  • installations
  • queer space theory
  • sexuality
  • gender


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