Han, the Little Mermaid’s
male counterpart by
Elmgreen & Dragset
July 9 2012
After the building of a Prada shop in the Texan desert in 2005 or the installation in 2008 of a memorial to homosexuals persecuted by the Nazis, the artists Elmgreen & Dragset have hit the headlines again with their latest public sculpture. This time the artists have given Denmark’s most famous public statue, The Little Mermaid, a male counterpart. The statue, Han, depicts a young man positioned on a stone by the seaside and is situated on the harbour of Elsinore, 45km south of his iconic big sister in Copenhagen.
The sculpture’s stainless steel curves create a distorted, psychedelic reflection of the neighbouring castle of Kronborg and its surroundings. With characteristic Elmgreen & Dragset chicanery and courtesy of a hydraulic mechanism, the eyes of the sculpture close for a split second once every hour.
This young man scanning the horizon is somewhat reminiscent of another melancholic young man who lived in Elsinore: Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
« O, that this too too solid flesh would melt», indeed! (Natalie Esteve)