Sunday, August 06, 2006

Coming out of the (Water) Closet

OK, so I've had some ribbing from friends and colleagues over the fact that I took a photo of a urinal. I'd just like to point out, therefore, that it's not something I make a habit of. My first thought when going to a public loo is not, 'Oo ... must take my camera ...'
The face/Mickey Mouse apparition was just too good to miss (miss with the camera, not ... well, you know what blokes are like).

It's a pity that all things scatological and micturatory are viewed as taboo in the West because we're missing out on some artistic opportunities. Most purely functional items can be made to be beautiful; just think about your car, your home sound system, cutlery, curtains, crockery, TVs, telephones ... yet the poor old toilet has remained dull and, it must be said, fairly poorly designed. We hide it away in the smallest room of the house when it's the one item we couldn't live without.
French Dadaist and Surrealist Marcel Duchamp did attempt to elevate our porcelain chum to an icon of beauty when, in 1917, he took a basic white urinal, painted 'R. Mutt 1917' on the side and exhibited it as a 'readymade' sculpture entitled Fountain. But he was fighting against the weight of public opinion and the poor old clodgey was soon put firmly back in the bathroom.

But, nowadays, I'm delighted to say that a new wave of artists are creating whimsical pissoires for us all to use and enjoy. Check out Clark Sorensen's extraordinary flower and shell urinals (example above) or the extraordinary Gothic masterpieces on display at the John Michael Kohler Arts Centre or Bathroom Mania's infamous 'Kisses', for example.

Let's get sanitary ware out of the water closet.

Honest to God officer... I was only in there taking photos of the art ...

3 comments:

Me said...

Three fantastic words in this entry for me:
scatalogical,
micturatory, &
pissoires.

I know you are a scholar of language - so tell me are any of them listed - or have you created all of them from versions of the actual word?

I told you I was thick!

Stig said...

Scatological - pertaining to Number Twos.

Micturatory - pertaining to Number Ones.

Pissoires - French public urinals.

As if I'd make it up ...

Me said...

and to think I call my prose the ramblings of a mad person!!!!