Fountain – Clare Holdstock

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Fountain is a postmodern take on Duchamp’s iconic Dada Fountain. In the piece, a plant protrudes conspicuously from the ceramic. The presence of the plant is a continuation of the use of symbolic foliage in my recent work reflecting utopia or failed utopias in twentieth century Modernist lines of thought.

Here, a palm tree sprouts from a urinal, turning Duchamp’s absurdist gesture on its head. By this point in the twenty-first century, Fountain has been absorbed into the trajectory of modern art history. To those unfamiliar with this canon, it can still evoke surprise, and in some cases, contention. This appropriation of Fountain is intended to be evocative and subversive as the by now familiar shape of Duchamp’s urinal is itself subverted.

In this version of the piece, the ceramic is signed with the pseudonym “A. Hank 2017” in acknowledgment of Armitage Shanks’s sponsorship of the project. This acts as an allusion to what has been disputed to be Duchamp’s original play on Mott Works, a then large sanitary equipment manufacturer in his use of the pseudonym “R. Mutt” 1917.”

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