The Ceramic Mountain and me

Thankyou for your kind responses to my last blog.  By the end of the coming  week I’ll be able to share the venue,  the time and the date. The director is  John McGrath . 

I am in Hull right now.  I’m at the launch of Foutain17. It is the 100th anniversary of Duchamp’s Fountain’s.  It’s in the picture above.  Fountain has been seen as a quintessential example of what he called a ‘readymade’. Without it there’d be no My Bed by Tracy Emin.    Its also 200th anniversary of Armitage Shanks.  Put these two together and you have Hull City of Culture’s Fountain17. (cont)

Fountain17 is an interpretation of the urinal in recognition of Duchamp. by many artists.   20 months ago I was given my files from the social services. I wrote about it here.   Some of the pages have been printed onto the ceramic urinal. It is in the tradition of concrete poetry too. I am really proud of this work.  It will be coming to London in May. I’m not taking the piss. Honest.

Professor John Burford is an architect who helped stop The Leaning Tower of Pisa from Falling.  He  once told me that once his creations have been built he takes a walk inside them. Alone. He saysthat then the building speaks to him through its physicality and he can know if it is  male or female.   My piece is called Mountain  after The Iron Mountain  –  the  data storage company who had my files.  But is it male or female.  It’s clear to me.  But what do you think?   If you zoom in you can read the words too. At some point it will be auctioned.

13 thoughts on “The Ceramic Mountain and me

  1. 12th July 1973: “This child extracts the greatest possible pleasure out of everything he does.” I’d say that the Jesuit maxim – ‘Give me a child until he is seven and I will show you the man’ was certainly in the making here. Kudos, Lemn, for finding ways to share your life experiences that stimulate growth not only in you but in others. You da man, fo’ sure.

  2. Hi Lemn so pleased your plans are coming together for the Report. Can’t wait to hear more details. I’ve just zoomed in on some of the writings on your Mountain. I could cry for Norman. I really could. There isn’t really anything I can write that would do your experience and my feelings justice. Good luck in Hull. I’m just on my way to London to the RA. Had been hoping you were around so we could finally meet. Another time?

      • Yes that would be great. Would love to meet up and have a coffee. I’ll let you know when I’m next in London or Manchester. Or if you’re in Oxford then Please do let me know. hope Hull was a success. I’m just on the train heading back to Oxford from London and smiling my head off watching you on Twitter lugging your life around in a urinal! X

  3. I’m so glad you said you’re not taking the piss because I’d been wanting to ask for some time now. I love that the writing by those who contributed to your interrupted childhood, your trauma, has been concreted onto a urinal that is usually used for pissing in. The image, the sheer power behind the inspiration is fucking amazing. There should definitely be some sort of piss-up or even piss-down to celebrate. Power to your pisspot!
    Much love as always,
    Rosie x

  4. For me your fountain is a female. Its shape recalls a womb, and also a cradle. It’s embracing. And it definitely speaks. Although it’s not possible to read everything by zooming in, it says that the little Norman only wanted to be taken care of. It was so simple to understand! But your smiley face is the most extraordinary proof of the ability to heal.
    I also love the connections that you make. The leaning tower of Pisa , which is the city I live in, is another proof that good care and attention can do the miracle. The tower was supposed to collapse soon after its construction, but it’s still here, majestic and powerful as it was over 800 years ago.
    Cant’ wait to know the date of the Report!

  5. Hi Lemn I’m sorry I missed your visit to our fair city, I was in York today and would have loved to say hello. Another time maybe? Please come back and see us again. Your work here reminded me of a play I saw many years ago which had a scene where a child in care broke into the Social Workers office and defecated in his file before putting it back in the drawer if the filing cabinet!

    That may not be your intention here but I’d not blame you if it were. I’ve seen and heard some outrageous things said by colleagues over the last thirty years. Good on you for throwing a light on how this can follow people through their lives!

    Be safe


  6. Dear Lemn,

    I find this piece deeply profound.
    Duchamp decided the Fountain was a piece of art he found, ready made by others.
    In the picture you hold the Mountain – the words show what happened to make your childhood the way it was. You have made art out of it. You are strong enough to cope with, and carry the Mountain. You transcend – through your art.

    It is deeply moving,
    Namaste and Abraços

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