Toilet on the River


YEAR: 1996



Collection of the artist

Not preserved


EV+A 1996. The Twentieth Annual Exhibition of Visual + Art, 8 Mar 1996 — 4 May 1996

Herning, Denmark, HEART: Herning Museum of Modern Art
Save the Date, 22 Apr 2017 — 28 Aug 2017


The installation is a wooden temporary toilet nailed together out of wooden construction boards, the kind that is built at seasonal summer places (small garden plots), at construction sites, etc. The toilet is placed on the bank, at the very edge of the river. If you walk up to it and glance into it from the direction of the river, then you can see that it consists of two compartments, both without doors. If one were to sit in these ‘stalls,’ one would have an expansive, beautiful view of the river, toward the peaceful, overgrown forest opposite the bank, at the tranquil green horizon. The installation ‘plays’ with two ‘meditative’ states: sitting in the toilet and dreaming in quiet, wonderful nature. In both cases, the states a person experiences are virtually identical: a particular internal concentration; isolation from the social world surrounding and frustrating each of us; a marvelous feeling of solitude, tranquillity and peace which is contrary to your usual state of perpetual anxiety; finally, a feeling of time standing still, a sense of approaching eternity seizing you completely …

The installation Toilet on the River, no matter how paradoxical it might seem, appears to combine these two ‘endeavors’ together and double, intensify both of them, so natural and similar to processes found in ‘nature.’

But, simultaneously, we understand that the building of such an installation involves entirely natural difficulties – of course, not so much of a technical as of a moral nature. Without a doubt, there could be viewers who wish to understand its artistic concept too directly. In order to anticipate this, the author proposes placing a plaque in front of the toilet (from the direction of the bank and not from riverside, although it is not impossible that art lovers could appear in boats, attracted by the appearance of an original work of art). This plaque would be dug into the earth, and it would clarify that before the viewer is an original, complete work of art, and that it should be understood more in some sort of metaphysical-philosophical sense than in a vulgarly naturalistic one.



1996Megan BartonComment