As the Centre Pompidou celebrates its 40th anniversary, it is honouring the centenary anniversary of Marcel Duchamp's 'Fountain' readymade. The urinal is widely regarded as an icon of 20th century art and has appeared in innumerable publications. The French artist Saâdane Afif, known for displacing authorship and collaborating with other artists, has been collecting magazine printouts, in various languages from many countries, featuring reproductions of 'Fountain' since 2008.
This has taken the form of Saâdane Afif assembling and framing hundreds of tear sheets on the subject of 'Fountain', including articles about his own project, called 'The Fountain Archives', which have therefore become an integrated part of the archive. In a binary manner, Afif has also collected all the books from which he has ripped out pages on 'Fountain', thereby having a positive-negative record of the documentation.
The exhibition showcases framed printouts about 'Fountain' and four shelf units in glass vitrines inside of which is Afif's library of magazines and books. The presentation provides an echo with the assumed status of 'Fountain' as a readymade sculpture, inasmuch that the library cannot be consulted in its vitrine format and takes on a sculptural appearance. The archived project of 46-year-old Saâdane Afif is witty and intellectual in its post-conceptual approach, interrogative of the role of the media for the diffusion of an artwork.
Ironically, the creation of 'Fountain' is not clearly explained through the exhibition (for more about the iconic piece, click here). Rather, 'Fountain', famously captured in the black-and-white photograph by Alfred Stieglitz, comes across as a source of enduring intrigue.