Page 111

the hole. In the horizontal position the Fountain draws the gaze towards the hole and is reminiscent of something that a man could lick or use in some other way to sexually please himself. In connection to masturbation it can remind a person of how he holds his penis while urinating into the urinal. It is not really matter to who does ‘Duchamp’s’ vulva belong, however its interpretation can increase the feeling of discomfort. If it belongs to our mother – as the signature R.Mutt could be read as Mutt./e/R – then we reach into the symbolic area of incest or into the field of the subconscious that belongs to our feelings prior to birth, that await within us forgotten, ready to trigger the sublime/ extimacy. If Duchamp’s Fountain represents a vulva, Gober’s homosexual eroticism leads us to interpret his objects as a male backside or anus. In his works Gober discusses the society’s attitude towards homosexuality. In its shape the statue Untitled (1990) can be compared to a male backside made from wax, human hair and notes written across the buttocks. This torso is also attached to the wall – to differ from the others that lie on the floor – which provides an additional similarity. Even though the anus, i.e. the hole which is in the sexual meaning linked more to pleasure than reproduction, is not visible on the statue, we know it exists. However, the openings on the urinals are much more expressed and represent a certain field of phantasms – similar to Duchamp, the only difference being that the object of desire is of a different gender. On the other hand we can say that the Urinals are reminiscent of backsides of individuals/ torsos turned towards the wall. In everyday use urinals are useful objects that offer relief and the feeling of the body, while also being linked to hygiene and transition. With urinals and washing basins the dirt disappears from sight as well as

CIIIID.indd 109

from our consciousness, and with this they metaphorically mark the transition into the subconscious. The presence of washing basins and urinals, or their drains through which secretions, bodily fluids and dirt run, marks the presence of the subconscious, which supposedly lies on the other side. The presence functions as discomfort, when the subconscious transforms into the conscious. In his work Gober often formally addresses cases known from the history of art: surrealism, pop art and minimalism, and on the level of individual artists Johns and Judd and especially Duchamp; the latter became more hidden in the installations from the 1990s. Gober most likely used the connection to create a broad view of the work, before the viewer could decide as regards the exhibited objects; on the other hand Gober was also aware that art does not transcend the mechanisms of the world of art: it is a mass of definitions, interpretations and cultural conventions, thus it uses references from its history so that it can be easier defined in the field of art. The works of Gober do not wish to fix the viewer’s attention on a single object, but want to disperse it, at which it suppresses the contents onto the formal and its perception: what and how is something made is predominantly applied to twisting the perception of the viewer, changing his emotional and mental reality. Gober makes everyday objects such as washing basins and urinals unusable, unusual and foreign. He confronts the viewer with the fact that he has to redefine his attitude towards these objects – which are created from a wire construction, wood, plaster and semitransparent enamel – and their function, as well as the relation of their bodies towards them.16 In the mimesis hierarchy he 16 In the substitution of a certain material with a different visually similar material with different characteristics (e.g. 109

13.1.2014 23:53:27

Corpus indeterminata  

Opus Corpus indeterminata by artist Zoran Srdić Janežič