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Florence show embraces 'toilet as art'

Exhibit inspired by Duchamp's iconic 1917 urinal artwork

05 February, 18:37
Florence show embraces 'toilet as art' (ANSA) - Florence, February 5 - Florence's prestigious Palazzo Medici Riccardi building is playing host to a highly unusual exhibition exploring the concept of the toilet as art form. Inspired by Marcel Duchamp's infamous 1917 urinal artwork, 'Fountain', the exhibition's organizers asked 20 designers and artists to produce their own fantastical interpretations of toilets.

The finished products, which went on display in the Renaissance palace on Thursday evening, feature a range of designs.

Some of the artists have converted WCs to apparently alternative uses, while others have taken toilets ''out of the bathroom'' into more adventurous surroundings. Fiona Corsini offers up a faintly sinister ''bucolic'' vision in 'Scatola Chiusa' (Closed Box) in which the central toilet is enclosed by walls painted with giant artichokes and small trees, bending in the wind.

Hundreds of little mirrors adorn the 'Eyes Wide Shut' toilet, created by Giacomo Cuccoli, while Clet's Daliesque 'Bisou' (Kiss) replaces the toilet seat with a giant pair of half-yawning, half-pouting bright red lips. Gregorio Konstantopoulos's 'Le Petit Prince' features a toilet cosily ensconced within a luxurious armchair, recalling the sumptuous leather and gilt WCs enjoyed by Louis XVI.

The prettiest toilet, also used as the exhibition's poster image, is probably Ginevra De Renzis Sonnino's 'outdoor toilet', set within a pale green garden bench and surrounded by trailing ivy. Another floral-inspired creation is Giulia Leoni's distinctly petalled daisy toilet, entitled ''M'ama-Non m'ama' (He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not).

'Billa' is an ironic, stand-alone, padded toilet in the colours of the Italian flag, while other interpretations include the toilet bowl as drinks cooler, complete with glasses and champagne, and a WC transformed into a brightly coloured, patterned baby cradle. The exhibition, 'WChairs', is the third instalment in the annual 'Fuorilogo' (Out of Place) project, which encourages designers and artists to let their imaginations run free on everyday items. WChairs is on show at the Palazzo Medici Riccardi until February 14.

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