By Paul Gessell
French artist Marcel Duchamp revolutionized the artworld in 1917 by signing a white men’s urinal, naming it Fountain and declaring it a work of art.
So revolutionary was Duchamp and his theories about “ready-made” art that, in 2004, a poll of 500 art experts named Fountain the most influential modern art work of all time.
With those thoughts in mind, visit the latest exhibition at La Petite Mort, the dare-to-be-different gallery in the ByWard Market. The multi-media, multi-artist show Golden is all about pee. Yes, you read that right. This show is all about pee. Duchamp would approve.
The exhibition is curated by Zachari Logan, the Saskatoon artist who is rapidly becoming an international star with erotic life-sized drawings of himself, often in the nude.
The most stunning work selected by Logan for the show is called Golden Tranny by Clint Neufeld, a sculptor living near Saskatoon. Upon seeing Golden Tranny, one immediately thinks of Duchamp. Surely, one expects Neufeld to present an ornate Victorian-era ceramic urinal stylishly displayed atop an old settee.
Ah, but it’s not a urinal. It is actually a ceramic reproduction of a farm tractor transmission. But, in the context of a pee show, one’s mind naturally travels to the bathroom.
Golden Tranny, like much of the work in the show Golden, is playfully subtle. In other words, the show is surprisingly tasteful considering the subject matter.
Logan ’s drawing, Gulliver 2, shows the artist, life-sized and clothed, being secured by ropes held by nine miniature renderings of the artist in the nude. One of the Lilliputian Logans, on the far right of the drawing, is peeing on the giant Logan . But you have to look very closely to see that.
The only work in the show that might be considered mildly shocking is the Evergon video Le Pissoir, in which the artist is seen unclothed, from the waist up. A steady stream — sometimes it is just a dribble — of what looks like urine is directed at his open mouth. The watering continues for 23 minutes.
The Montreal-based Evergon confessed at the recent vernissage — and I suppose it was meant to be a secret – that it was really water splashing his face. He drank so much during the shooting of the video that he got a bellyache. Expect to see more Evergon videos when he has a solo show next spring at his long-time dealer, Galerie St. Laurent-Hill, on Dalhousie.
Golden. Until July 31. La Petite Mort Gallery, 306 Cumberland St. www.lapetitemortgallery.com