Shy Fountain (A Fountain That Only Exists When No-One is There)

Site specific sculpture, 2008

Shy Fountain has, to date, been realised twice – once temporally in the grounds of Haus am Waldsee, Berlin and once as a permanent public art work in Cannon’s Marsh, Harbour-side, Bristol.

In Bristol the viewer might glimpse in the distance a fountain playing on the paving stones of a new public space. However, upon approach, this apparition will suddenly disappear like a startled animal – leaving only splashes of water as a trace of its recent presence. Like a nervous creature, if the viewer remains absolutely still, the fountain will gradually reappear – slowly gaining in confidence and allowing the motionless visitor to witness a secret spectacle.

Shy Fountain is intended to be a mysterious and perplexing phenomenon.  Bringing to mind the famous ‘tree that falls in a forest when no one is there to hear it’, the Shy Fountain asks – can something exist without being perceived? 


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