Information and Application

Thank you for your interest in Fountain17

Entries for Fountain17 are now closed

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Marcel Duchamp suggested that the making of art is a relational event involving artists and viewer; he completed his 1957 lecture, ‘The Creative Act’ with the following proposition:
‘All in all the creative act is not performed by the artist alone; the spectator brings the work in to contact with the external world by deciphering and interpreting its inner qualifications and thus adds his contribution to the creative act’.
Duchamp’s critique of the authority of the author (perhaps anticipated by the signature ‘R. Mutt’) pre-empts more recent ideas about the author function and the viewer’s role in making meaning. If the viewer’s interpretative response is extended to include production then we can view Fountain as the starting point for a new set of creative responses…

The Brief

To explore this coincidence of anniversaries and celebrations in 2017 we are asking artists, poets and designers to respond to Duchamp’s intervention one hundred years on.

We have no preconceptions as to how producers might respond. We are interested in ideas that transform an actual urinal (provided by Armitage Shanks) as well as responses in other media. Proposals may develop any aspect of Duchamp’s work including concept driven, process based, aesthetic, experimental and materials-led ideas. Outcomes may range from the performative, the sculptural, the photographic to functional design solutions. We also welcome proposals that respond to Duchamp’s experimental and playful use of words.

The Offer

Each selected artist will be given a fee of £500 to realise/produce their idea (£250 in September 2016 and £250 on completion in January 2017).

All selected artists will have the opportunity to visit the Armitage Shanks factory (see technical support link).

There will be technical support from experts/technicians at Ideal Standard (see technical support link).

Completed works will be exhibited in a touring exhibition which will start in Hull and travel to Stoke and London..

After the exhibitions the work will be put to auction towards the end of 2017 with 50% of any proceeds realised going to the artist and 50% to charity – Bowel Cancer (the Armitage Shanks designated charity) and Hull Samaritans.
Artists have the right to set a pre-agreed reserve price.


Selection Process

A panel will meet to select 20-30 proposals to go forward for realisation and exhibition. They will be looking for innovative, thought provoking and surprising ideas which will result in an exciting and varied exhibition.

The panel will be represented by Ideal Standard, Hull School of Art and Design, the arts community in Hull and will be chaired by Robin Levien, Royal Designer for Industry.

Technical Support from Ideal Standard

The panel will be looking for a range of responses. If artists wish to use a finished urinal these can be supplied by Armitage Shanks.

In addition a limited number of artists will have the opportunity to work at the factory alongside the production process at the greenware stage. There will be an opportunity to specify your particular technical requirements when you answer the questions asked for when you submit your proposal (see How to Apply below). All successful applicants will have the opportunity of taking a guided tour around the Armitage Shanks factory site in September or October 2016.

There will be further open days and technical advice available from Ideal Standard experts.

For artists wishing to work directly with a urinal (fired or unfired) and/or with ceramic processes, click on the Technical Details link below for additional guidance.

What Happens Now

Entries for Fountain17 are now closed. The selection panel is now working on the proposals submitted and will inform applicants before the end of August.

We have had a great response of over 80 applications and the Fountain 17 team would like to thank everyone for their submissions.

Selected artists will be given a contract to cover, for example, the right for Hull School of Art and Design and Ideal Standard to use images of the work for promotion purposes and as part of wider documentation on the Open Arts Archive.