Discourse Chamber – Sarah Pennington

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Transfiguration of a recognised object, to highlight its intrinsic nature through an alteration of form, repetition or juxtaposition with other objects or imagery, is a feature of my practice.

This work is inspired by thoughts around the use of public toilet facilities by male and female protagonists and dominant notions of gender and characteristic dierences in behaviour, roles, habits and identity; whilst illuminating the beauty in an everyday object.

An elegant form in porcelain, the readymade object of a familiar functional utensil – not a urinal but a toilet pan and pedestal – is here transformed into the ornamental object of desire, evocative of graceful classical female busts in marble where the elegant contours denote grace of nature as well as form, decorated with images to resemble chamber pots. Upturned, the form and the reading of the object is subverted from its original purpose and connotations, proposing consideration from a new angle.

Imagine the dierence between the atmosphere in a ladies’ washroom and in men’s public urinals. In the one, the etiquette is for conversation to be avoided, in the other it flows animatedly – whether between friends who’ve ventured in together or amongst coincidental strangers passing comment and compliment. Some clichés persist, but how do these enlighten us as to other skills and roles of these actors?

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