Elmgreen & Dragset’s series Highway Paintings uses the most basic material on which we commonly walk or drive: asphalt. The works in this series consist of rectangular fragments of asphalt, each framed and mounted on the wall as paintings or reliefs. Shapes and words made in the paint normally used for painting road markings can be discerned, however upon closer examination, it becomes apparent that some of the designs do not indicate any instructions at all, or that they signal unrealistic or even absurd directions. A circle appears on one piece, for example, whereas on another, two parallel lines begin to arch away from each other, making the symbols less like the traffic rules of the road and more like geometric abstractions. By isolating and exhibiting these fragments, the artists draw attention to and subtly alter some of the most common visual aspects of public infrastructure that are usually designed purely to communicate law and order. These paintings are formally reminiscent of Minimalist geometric abstractions, but they clearly also refer to a shared urban language. Here, this language is subverted and turned into signifiers that point to both the familiar and the subconscious.