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  • Writer's pictureLida Sherafatmand

After 100 Years, From a Urinal to a Bin- Time For Change?

Updated: Jun 24, 2019

Well yes, indeed Duchamp made a point about the ugly reality of wars with that urinal. Banksy has also made a point about the ugly reality of our love being trashed in a bin. The Duchampian style of responding to ugly realities by creating ‘ugly’ art continues today. So after practically 100 years of the creation of the famous Fountain by Duchamp, we have managed to move from being pissed down a urinal, to being trashed in a bin. In the art scene and in so many of our prominent newspapers and journals we celebrated the shredding of Banksy as a brilliant original move, but without realizing that by that we are at the same time affirming also that ‘love is in the bin’ indeed! From newspaper to newspaper, and from auction house to auction house, we have repeated and affirmed and put on a pedestal that love is in the bin. We are doing that because we are lost by the ‘shock’ of the unexpected shredding, and shock value is highly valued for today’s art establishment- the more shocking the better the art is considered. Although destroying art works, as an act of creation is actually not new; it was very well established by the ‘auto-destructive art’ movement- ‘destroy and you create’ as Gustav Metzger its founder said.

I like to point out that art works become part of our emotional, intellectual and physical reality. This is especially true for art works which gain international prominence, and are invested money on at high levels such over a million Euros. Therefore an art work, shredded and affirming that love is in the bin, affirms also a social reality in which love is in indeed in the bin. This is why alternatives to this affirmation are important in the prominent art scene.  We cannot blindly just continue the Duchampian trend still after 100 years, because at this stage we may well be ADDING to the ugly reality by the ugly art we keep on producing. The fact that reality is ugly today due to all the social tensions and international pressures going on, is nothing new! We already know that the reality we are witnessing is ugly, so can artists tell us something NEW rather than regurgitate what we already see with our physical eyes, and what we already know with our common sense?

As an artist myself I tend to be one of those artists who likes to show people what they do not normally see with their physical eyes, rather than repeat to them what they already know and have already seen with their eyes. Therefore I like to show the reality in which love grows out of bin in response to the shredded work of Banksy. This is also part of the reality, even if it may not be as visible to many eyes.

In response to Banky’s “Love is in the Bin”, I have expressed another side of reality which reminds us that we are the creators of our realities in society: “Love Grow out of Bin”. I call for love and beauty, which does exist, to rise out to the surface, from wherever it has been trashed in a bin (affirmed by Banksy 2018), and wherever it has been pissed down a urinal (affirmed by Duchamp 1917).

Snowdrop flowers, grow out of freezing cold winter ground covered in snow, with their bright green leaves and sunshine inside their petals. In flower essence remedies, snowdrop helps to restore one’s lost innocence too. These are flowers in the “Love Grow out of Bin”.

I am not criticizing Banksy. He is a hardworking artist trying to contest the ugly reality. But I criticize our stagnation in ugliness as a dominating art trend. I criticize our establishment which does not give balanced spaces to life-affirming art expressions.

After 100 years of contesting ugly realities with ugly art, I believe it is time for allowing space for some different mindsets in art creation. The mindset that I am working on is one of florescence, through the beauty and inherent knowledge of flowers which we tend to ignore and forget, despite the fact that they are also part of our REALITY. Maybe if we give some more space and exposure to the beauty of love, ugly cruelties would not be prevailing so much over us that we would be calling the “Love is in the Bin” an icon for 21st century after a Urinal was an icon for our 20th century.

Lida Sherafatmand

November 2018


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