The replica of the porcelain urinal presented by Marcel Duchamp, 1917 ‘Fountain’ was an iconic sculpture of the early minimalist installation artist. It was simply signed and placed in a new space, which was a turning point that defined the concept of ‘found-object’ art that challenged the notion of what art is. He removed art from aesthetics; the space around the artwork becomes more relevant as the concept becomes more meaningful than the object itself. Hobsbawm (1994, pg.571) states that post-war modernist art practice ‘[…] consisted largely in a series of increasingly desperate gimmicks by which artists sought to give their work an immediately recognizable individual trademark, a succession of manifestos of despair’.
The thought of labelling a common object as ‘art’ was originally shocking when it was not made as ‘art’ – something audiences had never seen before. It gives the viewer a place to contemplate a simple object and find a new appreciation within it. Today, it is a much more widely accepted practice within the art world, although it does still receive a lot of criticism from many. The key works that I have studied stem from this point in installation art history. This turning point allowed artists to begin thinking about transforming a perception of space as well as with promoting a philosophical reaction in the observation too. It allowed artist to experiment with a new means for art, to create a new first hand experience that can’t be experienced in 2D form.