Taking a hammer to a urinal, 2006  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
art intervention

On January 4, 2006, while on display in the Dada show in the Pompidou Centre in Paris, Marcel Duchamp's Fountain was attacked with a hammer by Pierre Pinoncelli, a 77 year old French performance artist, causing a slight chip. Pinoncelli, who was arrested, said the attack was a work of performance art that Marcel Duchamp himself would have appreciated. This may be true, as on one occasion visitors to a Dada show were invited to smash up the exhibits with an axe. Previously in 1993 Pinoncellia urinated into the piece while it was on display in Nimes, in southern France. Both of Pinoncelli's performances derive from neo-Dadaists' and Viennese Actionists' intervention or manoeuvre.

The Fountain attacked by Pinoncelli was actually number 5 of 8 recreated by Duchamp at a much later date, after the original one was lost. Another is on display in the Indiana University Art Museum, and there is one also in Tate Modern, where in 2000 it too was the target of a urination performance (unsuccessful according to the gallery) by Yuan Chai and Jian Jun Xi.




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