Dinner for Two



Written by Angela Marler


Elmgreen & Dragset

Dinner for Two (2002), instructions from do it: the compendium

Choose a dining table, round or square, but not too big.

Cover the top with a table cloth and place two white china plates, two sets of forks and knives and two wine glasses on it. Pull the table cloth off the table and leave the cloth and the crashed china and glasses on the floor beside the table.

(a thin and not too solid quality of china and glass will give the best result).

A picnic table stands in UMOCA’s Main Gallery, framed by two empty chairs and topped with china plates and an upended vase of flowers. Shattered wine glasses, forks, and a tablecloth are splayed out across the floor. You might have just walked into an argument, but you’re the only one there. A sense of uneasiness surrounds the scene.

Artists Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset created instructions for the piece, Dinner for Two (2002), as part of of the book do it: the compendium. A duo based in Berlin, Elmgreen and Dragset have worked together since 1995 making sculpture and installations that challenge our perceptions of everyday life. Their often humorous takes on architecture and art put a twist on normal scenes to comment on modern culture. Instructions for Dinner for Two (2002), along with instructions for hundreds of other pieces of art, have been compiled into do it: the compendium to allow artists’ work to be shared and interpreted across the world.