The city that recently waved goodbye to Blade, which saw a wind turbine blade transformed into a giant artwork, is set to welcome an exhibition inspired by the artist who first presented ordinary manufactured objects as art – readymades – a century ago.
Marcel Duchamp’s iconoclastic masterpiece, Fountain, is the inspiration behind Fountain17, with over 40 local and international artists making work that takes its cue from the urinal, which the artist turned on its back and signed ‘R. Mutt 1917’.
The exhibition features sculpture, painting, performance, film and of course urinals. Those contributing work include Turner Prize winning collective Assemble, renowned author and poet Lemn Sissay MBE, award-winning designer Ben Kelly, Hull School of Art and Design alumnus sculptor Neville Gabie, artists Anna Bean, Andy Dakin and Adele Howitt, plus a host of others.
Also on show is artwork by students at Hull School of Art and Design, as well as from local schools and prison groups.
Fountain17 opens on Saturday (1 April) and runs until 14 May at Kingston Art Gallery, Eleven, Humber Street Gallery and Brodrick Gallery, before moving to London as part of Clerkenwell Design Week, then on to the Gladstone Museum in Stoke as part of its biennial celebrations. The artworks are then set to be auctioned for charity.
The exhibition is a collaboration between Hull manufacturer Ideal Standard, which owns Armitage Shanks, and the Hull School of Art and Design. It is one of 60 projects that Hull 2017 has supported alongside Big Lottery Fund through its Creative Communities Programme. The project has also received funding from Arts Council England.
In April 1917, Duchamp submitted his ‘readymade’ Fountain to the Society of Independent Artists’ first exhibition in New York. The exhibit was rejected. This action redirected the trajectory of 20th century art and in 2004, 500 elected art professionals voted Fountain the most influential artwork of the 20th century.
Armitage Shanks was inspired by this work, which connects with the products it manufactures as well as its 200th anniversary, which falls in 2017. In celebration of Duchamp’s work, Armitage Shanks launched an art competition in partnership with the Hull School of Art and Design as part of its bicentenary celebrations, inviting young artists to respond to Duchamp’s Fountain.
Now 45 pieces of art will be displayed at art galleries across Hull as part of its City of Culture programme.
Tony Rheinberg from Armitage Shanks and Fountain17, said: “We have been absolutely delighted with the standard of entry which our call out to artists has generated. Fountain17 comprises a wide breadth of artwork in a variety of mediums and it has been fascinating to see how one iconic piece of art could create such a mix of pieces.
All of the artworks will be auctioned for charity as part of the Armitage Thanks campaign, an on-going charitable project organised by Armitage Shanks which aims to raise £200,000 as part of the business’ 200th anniversary year. The proceeds from the auction will be split equally between Bowel Cancer UK and the Hull Samaritans.