Monday, February 25, 2008

Duchamp and I

Today my friend Sam and I went to Duchamp, Man Ray and Picabia’s exhibition at Tate Modern. Even though I have always been fascinated by the Dadaists but I wasn’t actually in the mood of being exposed to “art” today. In fact it has been a while that I am strictly avoiding “art” and “artists.” But then we were driving aimlessly around London with nowhere to go to and we then found ourselves in front of the Tate Modern with a vacant parking place. So we reluctantly decided to go to the exhibition.
At first we talked about entering the building and exit without seeing any of the exhibition. That would be Dadaistic. But it was cold outside. So we compromised and agreed that we go to the exhibition for the time span of an hour that our parking ticket allowed us, but avoid looking at the most famous piece: Fountain.

I have made it into a principle to avoid what tourists do. For instance I managed not to see the Eiffel Tower when I went to Paris, nor have I ever seen the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen, nor the Parliament’s dome, Reichstag in Berlin and many other tourist attractions or works of art that have been reduced to tourist attraction.

Anyway, Sam and I went to Tate Modern and as you could imagine it were not easy to overlook the Fountain. So we did see it in the end. But I wanted to make a manifestation, a disrespectful gesture towards Duchamp’s artwork. So I decided to take a photograph of myself, standing in front of Fountain, the pissoir, with my hand covering my eyes. But the guard said that rules of the museum do not permit visitors to take photographs. I told her this is a Dada exhibition, what the hell is “rules.” She seemed perplexed; I think that was the first time she had heard that word. But she repeated with more emphasis that it was “against the rules.” We got very disappointed. But we couldn’t accept that, could we? So after a while I wet in front of the pissoir and Sam quickly snapped a picture with his mobile phone.

That was a little act of Dada. But I am not really satisfied. I am thinking to go back to the museum and this time pee in the pissoir. Just wonder what would happen to me if I do that? I am sure that the Dadaists would laugh their ass off in their graves.


Blogger fari bradley said...

The latrine is iconic because of what it meant to art at that time. It cannot be very much to look at it in itself! So what else have you unsucesfully avoided in London? By the way, us Londoners go to the Tate gallery mostly, not the tourists. You will find them at the Tower of London, The London Dungeons and Oxford Street.

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