Artwork details

Title
Drain
Date
1989
Medium
Cast tin
Dimensions

Robert Gober

b. 1954

Robert Gober introduced his very personal take on Appropriation art in the 1980s and 90s. Familiar objects from the home environment such as a crib, a sink, a drain, or a stack of newspapers create the initial impression of ready-mades, but all are handmade by the artist. The works are strongly infused with his memories, but they also trigger emotions that are common to us all, such as discomfort, doubt and suffering. Existing in dialogue with the things we consider ‘normal’, Gober’s works investigate his sense of ‘otherness’ as a gay man. The transfigured objects tell their stories on several different levels, presenting intricate and mystifying narratives concerned with childhood, sexuality, religion, discrimination and memory. On closer inspection they take on a symbolic character, onto which the viewer’s experiences and unconscious desires can be projected.

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The point of departure for Gober’s works is often how experiences from childhood remain alive in one’s subconscious mind, such as the memory, both fascinating and frightening, of watching the bathwater disappear down a drain. The drain can be perceived as a metaphor for several of the key themes of Gober’s work, which include transitions from one stage to another and the power of the subconscious mind. 

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