Vrouwke Pis 1994
click image to view video
TV monitor, video, cement fountain, 72" x 26"
Vrouwke Pis was created as an antithesis to Brussels' famous fountain, Manneken Pis, which depicts a naked little boy urinating into a fountain basin. Vrouwke Pis, a 6' tall fountain with a monitor mounted on top replaces the boy with a silent video of a live woman, naked as well and happily relieving herself while standing. With this work we seek to address some of the political and ethical issues of our times as they relate to the personal and social rights of women. Our work has been about the body and how technology, the culture and its own frailty affect it.
Since 1987, Manneken Pis has had a female equivalent in Brussels, Jeanneke Pis, located on the east side of the Impasse de la Fidélité/Getrouwheidsgang. She doesn't draw much attention as she is placed in a narrow cul-de-sac. The sculptor depicted a little girl with her hair in short pigtails, squatting and urinating on a blue-grey limestone base. Manneken Pis, on the other hand, is dressed several times each week in colorful costumes with a posted schedule for visitors who want to plan their visits accordingly. His wardrobe can even be viewed in a permanent exhibition inside the City Museum located in the Grand Place. All the while, he proudly urinates, his stream continually flowing between each change of outfit. When we first conceived Vrouwke Pis, we wanted to find a woman who looked both angelic and uninhibited by either her sexuality or her performance. The sculpture shows a young woman on a pedestal, naked and innocent, who puts aside any social anxiety by showing her authentic self, as well as honoring her instincts.