FINDING ELSA (object) (2017) Steel and porcelain, 83 x 40 x 40”
FINDING ELSA (2017) 2:50 excerpt from a 16:29 video installation Dave Simonds (Filmmaker)
The work is called Finding Elsa in reference to the Baroness Elsa Von Freytag Loringhoven, a poet and artist active in the early 1900s who is now at the center of a controversy over who was the original creator of the FOUNTAIN. The controversy started with the discovery of a letter that entered the public domain in 1983. It is from Duchamp to his sister in April of 1917 and states: ‘One of my female friends under a masculine pseudonym, Richard Mutt, sent in a porcelain urinal as a sculpture, since there was nothing indecent about it, there was no reason to reject it’. I’m not interested in entering this debate from an art historical position or as a critic of Duchamp or Elsa, but rather because of what is important to me in the way the controversy aligns itself with the issues I’m attempting to communicate about the cages we find ourselves in at any given time. You throw off one layer to find another still intact. In this video a life size projected image of the person inside a rolling bottlerack rolls onto the screen and periodically throws one of the 52 handmade porcelain objects from the rack against the wall. The thrown objects disappear as they leave the "projected image", but the sound of them smashing is heard from where you would expect it in the room. This is accomplished via 8 sound channels and 8 speakers.