Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Rothkowatch #1

Modern art often gets a bad press. "My 5-year-old could do better" and "Which way up is it meant to go?" are the usual charges levelled at abstract paintings. I had a great opportunity to test this second allegation as I have just started doing what will hopefully become some regular work at a company that has a copy of Rothko's Earth and Green hanging in the gents' toilet.

I decided to make a hilarious attack on the work of the Latvian abstract expressionist by turning it upside-down and seeing if anyone would notice. Here it is when I entered the toilet:

And here it is when I left:

It is nice to broaden the kind of comedy that I am involved in. I have never played a practical joke like this before, though admittedly this is less banana skin-based and more needing a detailed knowledge of 20th century art-based (anyone who knows their Rothko knows that the red bit actually goes at the top). It's probably best that Jeremy Beadle isn't alive to witness this.

I had to run the tap and flush the toilet as I took the photos to cover the fact that my phone makes a very loud CAMERA CLICK sound when I take a photo, and there was very little else inside the tiny, bare room that I could be legitimately taking a photo of. Of all the noises one could be embarrassed about making in a toilet, a very loud CAMERA CLICK has to be the worst. Anyone waiting outside and hearing a very loud CAMERA CLICK from inside would probably think that I was taking a picture of (a) my penis, (b) my poo, or (c) both at once.

If you look closely at the pictures you can see my reflection. Luckily for you I am rubbish at multi-tasking, so hadn't started urinating at the time, and this is not an example of reflectoporn, where someone uploads a picture of a shiny kettle they are selling to eBay, only for a potential purchaser to zoom in to have a closer look at the shiny kettle and see a reflection of a naked person holding a camera. I do not get my kicks from getting strangers to inadvertently look at pictures of my penis, and anyone who says I do is lying. So don't go looking for my penis - you will only be disappointed. You won't see it, even if you really zoom in a lot.

So, will anyone notice that I have satirised the whole of modern art and turn the picture back round? Or will the picture still be in the same orientation the next time I go there? Or will this be like the second murder in Se7en (Greed) and I will find the picture in a third, different orientation, and I will look on the back and find a message written using fingerprints from a severed finger?

Watch this space.