A photograph of the Prada “store” opened by Berlin artists Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset in 2005.
In line with their other installations, where they recreate and displace common signifiers causing surreal experiences for viewers, this project was intended to be a hyper-realistic sculpture of a luxury store. The Prada “store” has a sealed door, is never open to commerce, and displays a selection of coveted objects.
In the middle of the West Texas desert, on a country road leading to the small town of Marfa, completely isolated from its usual urban context, Elmgreen and Dragset’s symbol of luxury and capitalist promise still sits in that romantic landscape, jarringly juxtaposed with Marfa’s hard-working native inhabitants, albeit with graffiti now scrawled on the exterior of its walls.
It was intended that the structure never be repaired, allowing it to slowly degrade back into the natural landscape. The plan went awry when, three days after the store was completed, vandals graffitied the exterior, and broke into the building stealing handbags and shoes.