Pao Gallery Installation

Programme: Toilet
Site: Pao's Gallery, 5/F, Art Center, Wanchai, HK
Size: 250 sqf
Completion Date: 2008
Awards: Perspective Award - Heritage 2010


The project was first inspired by the imagery of the famous Fountain piece by Marcel Duchamp (or R. Mutt?) and his artistic act.*  We were particularly   interested in the relationship between object and to which the context it was placed in/with/within, and the very own act of placing it.  Such was the rationale of using dried straw as our primary ceiling material.  The lighting pendants emerges from the dried straw could be read as surrealistic flowers growing upside down from the ceiling; the ivy-like conduits grow into its adjacent surfaces to become wall sconces; the dark shiny sheet vinyl floor reflects the light sources and becomes the twinkled sky while the strawed-ceiling is the ground.  This bathroom’s ground and ceiling  inversion is the result of the dried straw.  The object defined its context in this instance.

In retrospect, one could also argue that this bathroom pays homage to its context, the Art Center.  Finished in the same year as the George Pompidou Center      in Paris (1977), the Art Center takes pride in its         architectural aesthetic through the exposed building structural and mechanical systems.  As a reflection to the architectural era that the building was conceived and built, our work takes on this idea of exposing all the electrical conduits, plumbing and ducting network to optimize the bathroom’s function.

In both cases, our work is inspired by Context in two different meanings of the word: Context of art museum as an institution and Context of building as an architectural style.

Like many contemporary artwork, our project are meant to be interpretative in any way as you see fit.  For us, the essence of any architectural work lies in its ability to emanate multiple meanings from a single concept.

Approach the work as you would a new acquaintance, with the intent of finding out what it is all about…


*Marcel Duchamp(1887-1968), once proposed to put a urinal signed with the fake artist  name “R.MUTT” inside an art exhibition and entitled it “FOUNTAIN” in order to question the role of artwork and artist in a museum setting.