Face to Face – Robin Levien

+ + +

On 19th May 2016 I went to Paris with Tony Rheinberg of Ideal Standard to meet Antoine Monnier of the Association Marcel Duchamp. A long conversation over lunch at the Café Beaubourg revealed that Antoine was keen to get away from the obsession with urinals resulting from Duchamp’s submission of a urinal to the New York Society of Independent Artists in 1917. Tony and his wife Jill Howitt had asked me to launch Fountain 17, a call to artists to respond to Duchamp. On the train back to London I asked Tony if he could provide two clay urinals for the launch event at The BathRoom in Clerkenwell. With the help of my colleague Dave Tilbury I glued the urinals together with mastic and covered them with a black cloth. At the appointed hour I revealed my latest design concept for Ideal Standard, a face to face, fin urinal. I said that Duchamp had expressed the view that a work of art always needs a spectator, to which I added that design is also meaningless without a spectator. I asked a member of the audience, a spectator, to collaborate with me and a lady stepped forward. I gave her this hammer and asked her to smash the face to face urinal, which very reluctantly she did. Fountain 17 was launched……..

Return to exhibits