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How Western Art History Full of People Peeing Relates to Western Culture?

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Western art is sometimes mistaken as the one only appertaining to Western culture whereas it is a widespread concept. It is related to Europe from the grass root level. The history of art has experienced many movements like Romanticism, realism, impressionism adorned with modernism and postmodernism. It is known to have the presence of Byzantine, baroque, rococo and much more. Western culture is expressed in two ways i.e. the ones who created it and the way through which it was made. Everything was going absolutely alright but then the revolution occurred in society and art. This took place in the 19th century. Traditional areas got less importance because of decreasing value of royal and church power. This led to industrial revolution as well. It increased materials and working methods of new technologies.


Historic Western culture of Europe

The then artists were creative as well as independent and not confined. Their predecessors were craftsperson but they were not free as the current artists are. Globalization made up for it by challenging and constituting western culture. It has not been Shrugging off completely. Oil painting, marble sculpture etc are found even today in villages. Contemporary art, modern art etc are its instances. With the development and introduction of synthetic pigments, new mediums took place in the form of photography and film. It saw private galleries. Artists were accorded liberty to portray their desires than to fulfill and satisfy other patrons. All this led to the introduction of people-peeing in the Western art history.


Sculpture depicting introduction of people peeing

All credit goes to Claude Lebensztejn who is the creator of “pissing figures”. It has the presence of urinating. It has been shown that how numerous times significance of urinating has been shifted. Social etiquettes and traditional customs made this natural body process, shameful act. But it was delivered to us in the form of sculptures. Even this impropriety didn’t stop artists to incorporate urination into their work. Lebensztejn says that it’s only their way to express such act in prejudiced social, political and religious codes. “The story that’s being told is the story of how the act of pissing went from something celebratory to something that’s repressed and immediately tied to sexuality,” says Lucas Zwirner, the editorial director of David Zwirner Books.

Simultaneously, urinating became revelry and renewal in painting. Titian, an artist of 16 century took a commission to paint massive mythological scenes for the private art gallery of Duke of Ferrara. “The Bacchanal of the Andrians” is his famous work. This artistic work has been made with the inspiration from Roman god of harvest and winemaking. The artist made further additions also. Greek book, ‘Imagines’ is known to be the main source of inspiration. But all the artistic creations and talent would have left unrecognized in the absence of Lorenzo Lotto’s Venus and Cupid. Lebensztejn’s paintings were identified by this Venetian painter in the 16th century. Venus got fame from his creation which showed rose petals covering the lady parts. This witty and sumptuous painting was the ultimate painting made by the artist. This painting was very much loved by the then new weds. It was known to have insisted fertility for the lovebirds. This painting was considered during marriage nights as well.The painting made by the artist is very seductive. The painting has the goddess of love Venus and her son Cupid. The smattering rose petals slightly wrap the female parts of Venus whereas Cupid is firing his urine into the air. The picture gets filled by more emotions as the urine gets broken into several droplets which directly reach and end-up at Venus’s genitalia.


Painting of Venus and Cupid by Lorenzo Lotto

It was in the 1800s and 1900s when urine became less powerful, magical and its role became more aggressive. Public bathrooms made urination a private act and as a result, painters got new power to shock and disrupt. Rabenstein again gave explanations in this regard. These artists were now confined and this made them anxious and angry. In 1887 James Ensor made the artwork, ‘The Pisser’ which was also known as ‘A man of people.’ This radical artist or painter targeted his critics only. This was his way of shrugging off petty criticisms.

He was not the only painter who revolted, there were much more. It was in the year 1960 when the Viennese Actionists took help of creative art forms of urination to attack bourgeois. It was done only to safeguard this artistic culture post world war II culture. This movement was considered as suffocating as well. Commoners were very much troubled and irritated due to such steps were taken by artists. It is more than enough for them to accept. But in 1969, the artists did something vulgar and quite embarrassing. This took place in Germany. In the artistic work, ‘Piss Action’, the artist urinated in front of the audience himself making them shocked. The reason for such an act was to express the inner emotions and feelings. This was literally too much. The artist was boycotted from Germany. He was compelled to leave Germany. His collaborator was also jailed for a half year. His collaborator Gunter Brus was known for his performances showcasing urination and masturbation. Sometimes he performed on defecation as well.


The artistic work: Piss action

All the revolutionary movements fetched the support of several photographers. These photographers were one of them who fought for sexual freedom and who fought against repression. Robert Mapplethorpe is known to have taken the utmost initiative to celebrate homosexuality. In the creation titled.’Jim and Tom, Sausalito, he shows that how a man peeing into his sexual partner’s mouth. This happened in the 1970s. From this creation, he concluded that this is a way of offering a golden shower. Everything was taking place simultaneously. Artists revolve at a place and photographers revolting on another place. It was cold yet artificial trendy porn of that time. Women were no less than men, even at that time. In the early 2000s, female artists started responding to female urination. All this took place via artworks of Serrano. Kiki Smith should be thanked for depicting peeing of the woman. She named the artwork as ‘ Pee Body’. It is a picture of a woman peeing on golden glass pearls. Another artist ‘Dumas’ made the portrait, ‘Peeing with a blue dress on’. It is an art in which woman stares at the man sexually. It is said to be connected and related to the works by Rembrandt and Picasso. They were known to have successfully turned the viewer into voyeur.

All this happened in the history of Western art culture which is a proof that the various artists tried to inculcate practical aspects of bodily functions into society’s narrow-minded cultural storms.

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