Petro Wodkins – Manneken Pis

I got contacted recently by an assistant to Petro Wodkins, a Russian artist who recently repurposed the classic kitsch 15th-century fountain in Brussels, Manneken Pis.

Manneken Pis

I saw Manneken Pis many, many times in people’s basement bars as a humour piece long before I knew it as an actual piece of art. So really, we’ve got art that has become a self-mockery of itself in many ways – Wodkins just took it to an obvious extreme, and I salute him for calling out this “objet d’art” for what it is and subverting it – a cute little boy pissing all over the place replaced with a further mockery in the form of a self-portrait of the artist as a Golden God and yet a further mockery in recording tourists not even noticing the replacement. Well, except for that first guy.

Yes, it’s an over-the top “look how little the world knows or cares about art as long as it’s famous” routine but hey, it’s funny. Shades of Duchamp as R. Mutt when he thumbed his nose at the pretensions of fine art. You could also interpret the piece as a highbrow geurilla art piss-take (pun intended) à la Banksy infiltrating his own art into several museums in the UK. In any case, I find it funny and clever on many levels.

more of Wodkins’ work can be seen on his site  – some work is NSFW, so be forewarned.