Performance on 19 April 2007, on the stairs at the main entrance
Commissioned by deSingel
In 2004, the then curator at deSingel, Moritz Küng, initiated the Curating the Campus project. The intention was to give visual art a permanent place on the campus alongside architecture, dance, music and theatre. Each year, Küng invited an artist to conceive a new work, or else he retained a site-specific work after the end of an exhibition. The project gradually expanded into a collection of permanent works created by eleven artists from Belgium, France, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Itziar Okariz’s work is mostly based on feminist activism. For Curating the Campus she put on a site-specific performance with the intention of exposing a ritual of sexual discrimination: ‘To pee in public or private spaces’. Society only accepts this action from the opposite sex, and her unannounced performance on the broad staircase at the main entrance gave this a political dimension involving respect, equality and legality. The staircase also added another dimension – art history or even architecture – to her act. Okariz’ pose referred to the 1912 work ‘Nu descendant un escalier’, and her urination to the well-known 1917 work ‘Fountain’, both by Marcel Duchamp. And the natural meandering of the water over the steps referred to a key work of modernist architecture: Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1934 Falling Water house in Pennsylvania. By means of this performance, Okariz marked off a terrain within the arts institution which she – appropriately – claimed on behalf of all artists.
Itziar Okariz (1965, San Sebastian, ES. Lives in Bilbao). Her work has been shown at Musac in Léon (2013, solo exhibition) Fundación Tapies in Barcelona (2013), and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid (2013).