Quietly expressive, The Basinless Sink is a paragon of Robert Gober’s iconic Sinks series, which in its interrogation of the body, sexuality, politics and religion has become emblematic of the themes that defined the artistic inroads of the 1980s in New York. Executed from 1984 to 1986, every sculpture in the group is a permutation on the sinks which populated Gober’s childhood environs, each example becoming increasingly abstracted from their referent as the series progressed. Projecting a staid nobility, the present work is a highly refined exemplar from the latter half of this series, painstakingly handcrafted without a basin to appear flush to the wall. With neither the capability to supply or store water, Gober’s sink is devoid of utility, bringing together the vernacular of the Duchampian readymade with the illogical and ineffable quality of dreams and memories. Gober developed this body of work at the outset of the HIV/AIDs crisis, and the present work is a stoic and forceful visual metaphor to address notions of sanitation, health, abjection, and resilience.
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