1. Install a bath in the gallery
2. Bathe only there for the duration of the exhibition
3. Don’t change the water
4. Photograph the bath mat every day

Notes on Seen and Not Seen:

The bath is seen to be simultaneously a place of cleansing and reflection, as well as a leisure activity for those with the time and means to enjoy it.

In an act of devotion that can be compared both to the ascetic rituals of religious devotees, the work takes literally the assumption that devotion, commitment, persistence and a degree of suffering lead to enlightenment.

Also, by comparing the bath to an artwork (art object)—where the artist imbues an object with their life experiences, their efforts and something of their essence—the depositing of one’s daily dirt into the bathwater questions whether the value is at times misplaced on artists rather than the works they produce.

Matthew Freemantle, on Seen and Not Seen:

“It’s 7.34am at SMITH in Cape Town’s CBD and artist Dale Lawrence is in the middle of the gallery taking a bath.

He’s done this every day before opening time for the past five weeks and will continue every morning until his exhibition ends on the 12th of October.

Lawrence won’t be seen bathing, for better or worse, but the evidence is there in implication, whether a ruffled towel, a wet mat or the dirty bathwater.