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Urinal Art project to commemorate anniversary of Duchamp's iconic Fountain work

* Duchamp-urinal.jpgA new collaborative project between Hull School of Art and Design, the bathroom manufacturer Armitage Shanks and the Arts community in Hull, has been launched to celebrate the dual anniversaries of Duchamp's Fountain (100 years) and Armitage Shanks (200 years) in 2017.

The project, titled Fountain17, is now looking for artists, poets and playwrights with an open call to respond to Duchamp's intervention 100 years on - with a competition for ideas that transform an actual urinal (provided by Armitage Shanks) as well as responses inspired by 'Fountain' but produced in other media.

Marcel Duchamp was a pioneering artist whose work has had an immense impact on twentieth-century and twenty first-century art. Fountain is one of Duchamp's most famous works and is widely seen as an icon of twentieth-century art. The original, which is lost, consisted of a standard urinal, signed and dated 'R. Mutt 1917'. A replica is displayed at The Tate Gallery in London.

Armitage Shanks, the iconic British bathroom brand, is owned by Ideal Standard which has been an employer in Hull for over 100 years - and in 2017 Hull will be the UK City of Culture. The company still retains its original Armitage Shanks site in Staffordshire, where it manufacturers urinals that are commonplace across public venues, offices, pubs, restaurants, schools, hospitals, airports, stadiums and everything else in between, across the entire UK.

To explore this coincidence of anniversaries and celebrations of Hull City of Culture in 2017, the organisers of Fountain17 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," admits Tony Rheinberg, from Armitage Shanks and Fountain 17. "We are interested in ideas that transform an actual urinal 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, or the photographic to functional design solutions.

"We also welcome proposals that respond to Duchamp's experimental and playful use of words."

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 (Armitage Shanks), Hull School of Art and Design, the arts community in Hull and will be chaired by International designer, Robin Levien.

The panel will be looking for a range of responses some of which will require a completed glazed urinal which will be supplied by Armitage Shanks.

Each selected artist will be given a fee of £500 to realise/produce their idea.

Completed works will be exhibited in a touring exhibition which we anticipate starting in Hull and travelling to Stoke, London and York.

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.

All successful applicants will have the opportunity of taking a guided tour around the Armitage Shanks factory site in September or October 2016 and there will be an opportunity to specify your particular technical requirements on the application form.

The closing date is just over a year away - on 15th June 2017. If you are interested in submitting a proposal see 'Application process' on the website:


3rd June 2016

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