The Guilded Pissoir – Jacqui Symons

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A highly decorative and ornate piece of artwork, The Gilded Pissoir directly challenges Duchamp’s belief in what constitutes art. The dierence between his ‘readymade’ urinal and the highly decorative mosaicked urinal presents and highlights the conflict between Duchamp and accepted ideas of the time – the belief that works of art were physical artefacts that ‘showed exemplary craftsmanship’ and were considered beautiful, interesting and inspiring.

The gold colour aims to represent our culture’s obsession with the precious metal – its association with material wealth, extravagance andauence and how using gold to make an object or within a piece of art can elevate its importance and value. But also, because the gold decorates a urinal, it questions the value of the gold, as ultimately it is just a toilet.

The Gilded Pissoir is a purposely overelaborate and sumptuously decorated piece of art, mosaicked in gold tile. The mosaics are cut and shaped to create a decorative and ornamental finish to the piece, with patterns mirroring the flow of water (and urine) within the bowl to highlight the urinal’s actual use.

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