Gallery / Memory-Archive-Museum / Vessels for 21st Century Epidemic

Vessels for 21st Century Epidemic 2009 by Robyn Phelan

Vessels for 21st Century Epidemic  2009

stoneware clay, glazes, c-type print

variable installation, single vessel h: 26cm, w: 18cm, d: 18cm


In a display of fine Song Dynasty ceramic tableware in the Shanghai Museum, sits a spittoon. It is a beautifully made receptacle for a repellent fluid. It’s inclusion amusingly reminded me of Duchamp’s provocative action of placing a porcelain urinal in a 20th century French gallery.


The juxtaposition (whether intentional or not) of sanitary ceramics objects alongside objects of higher purpose creates a strong emotional reaction.


Vessel for 21st Century Epidemic captures a sense containment, its purpose is to secure and isolate time gives, assurances of not sharing or spreading its contents.




Image: Christopher Sanders