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The Catalyst

a space to ( = )

Duchamp Woz Ere

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When one questions how contemporary art managed to crawl its way to its current diabolical impasse, where one painting is indistinguishable from another, when a sculpture is literally nothing more than a heap of junk - or at best a giant rubber duck - all done without the slightest attempt at the discourse, sentiment, or aesthetic criteria, however feeble and ephemeral, that an ‘artist’ should at least try to deliver or convey, one can easily draw the conclusion that we truly are living in the new dark age.

Just before this Christmas 2023, the Catalyst gallery will be plumbed and fitted with functional urinals and repurposed as a public lavatory to honour R. Mutt, an alter-ego of the visionary and prominent artist Marcel Duchamp, and pay tribute to one of his greatest ready-made p(i)e(c)es, Fountain, the non-art ‘thing’ that was once nihilistically placed on a plinth more than a century ago, returning to Caesar what was once Caesar’s.

Marcel Duchamp’s act with Fountain was performed at a critical juncture in the evolutionary context of the troubled avant-garde, the arrival of Dadaism and its subsequent bastardisation into postmodernity, as well as simply being a revolutionary act and a cynical gesture, but nevertheless a true statement and reflection in regards to the shameless commercialisation (to the point of corruption) of the art market at the time. We are now finding ourselves once again in the same scenario at this cultural turning point, where the uncertainty of the path ahead, in relation to Duchamp’s critique and sentiment a century ago mirrors and echoes our very own state of (non)existence, ringing even truer and louder in today’s lacklustre art world.

One may predict that Marcel would have turned in his grave if he ever lives to see today’s zombiefied and lobotomised (un)contemporary art. Some say Hong Kong and Chinese culture in general could not be further away from the then Gallic sensibility but when it comes to the subject of human waste and repugnant taste, that’s where the similarity meets and a common value can be found, beyond language, barrier and race. Through A Convenient Masterp(i)e(c)e we will all arrive at the true universal artistic value by simply releasing ourselves to take care of number 1.*

Visitors will be able to access and use the various hand-crafted urinals in their originally intended state; the Catalyst shall eliminate the debate regarding sexual inequality, and encourage female users make uninhibited, free-range use of the facility alongside their male counterparts and furthermore, by committing to the core value of equality of the two sexes, no toilet paper will be provided under any circumstances. We care because you do.

*It is imperative that you come take a piss at the Catalyst at your earliest convenience, further delays will only cause anxiety, undue stress, physical pain and anguish, and can resulted in long term serious health hazard. Be kind to your bladder.

藝術不再 死而後矣

在今年的又一次虛假耶誕普世歡騰的日子來臨前, the catalyst 適逢喜慶日子特意為紀念藝術家Marcel Duchamp 而將七百餘呎有限地方搖身變成一個可圈可點但又無可厚非的公廁,以表揚其幻影假身R. Mutt並向其驚世masterp(i)e(c)e鉅作, Fountain 作影後致敬。


G/F, No.2 Po Yan, Street, Shueng Wan, HK © 2024 The Catalyst

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