Toilet deodorizer on canvas, 2009

120x90 cm

The work Sanobon (an Israeli toilet deodorizer) is made out of two plastic toilet deodorizer units, dripping their colored cleaning detergent on a large canvas in real time. “Sanobon” deals with the aesthetics of North American minimalist art of the sixties, ridiculing and dismissing the art work and consequently the artist’s role in its creation.

The continuous splash of color on the canvas resembles the act of flushing the toilet, simultaneously erasing itself while being created, therefore challenging the creative process itself. The colorful, constant and fragrant movement invites the viewer to a pleasurable experience. Although Bartal gives the work its humoristic character (drawing pleasure from watching a cheap and accessible daily detergent, used for disinfecting our most intimate body fluids) he also attempts to push and explore the boundaries of the artist’s responsibility for his work.

Sanobon changes continuously – in fact one could claim that it is less about the material and more about the idea – and calls into question the role of the artist as he has very limited control over the work’s final state. In this sense this work comes to express the idea behind it more than its materiality. The gravity and the chemical reaction of its elements influence the work as much, or even more, than the artist’s choices; the artist, in this work “flushes his labor down the artistic drain”.