Hygiene is the god of the twentieth century and the toilet its ubiquitous icon. The toilet proliferates in both the annals of art history and in the climaxes of popular cinema - from Duchamp to Loos to Hitchcock to Tarantino. Yet hygiene is an inadequate deity, and the toilet an ambiguous imago. The toilet - and the bathroom and the plumbing that connects them - are slippery signifiers filled with anxious musings. Think, for example, of all the cataclysms that occur in the bathrooms of Hollywood: the modern subject murdered, massacred, sucked into its apparatus. Such messy things as class, gender, the sexual body, so neatly repressed in the ideology of a clean, transparent, modern democracy, rise up like greasy water in a clogged drain, an anxiety that gurgles up from modern plumbing. In the past eight years or so, I have been examining this return, using plumbing in different registers to bespeak the history of a classed, gendered and sometimes smelly subject. My installations of plumbing systems, my photographic archive of public toilets, my drawings in urine, have sought to address these symptoms of modernity.
Some recent exhibitions:
A Pictorial Guide to Sanitary Defects, at Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects; 2002.
Toilet Training, in EAST International, Norwich School of Art and Design; 2001.
Hotel Australia, in The Australia Projects, featured in The Age of Melbourne; 2001.