Dan Gunn is pleased to announce the second solo exhibition by Tracey Rose at the gallery. The show comprises a sculptural installation, the first in a series of three versions of a factory for producing white girls’ farts. This first version, First World, is the initial, handmade factory, to be followed by Middle World, which will be machine made and Underworld, which will be formed of semi-precious metals.
The sculptural elements here represent the stages in the production of a white girl’s fart, using as the base material Black Cat Peanut Butter, a classic local brand in Rose’s native South Africa. The use of this quintessentially American ingredient is partly an homage to George Washington Carver, the African American inventor of peanut butter, who was born into slavery in Missouri in 1861 or 1864. The peanut butter is extracted from the Black Cat jars, which is used to bake peanut butter cookies for consumption by a white girl, who produces a fart for filling an empty jar, which constitutes the final product of the factory, overseen by a black cat.
The black cat has long been associated with superstition and witchcraft. In Deborah Willis’s Malevolent Nature: Witch-hunting and Maternal Power in Early Modern England, the author links the witch’s attributed relationship with the familiar to a bizarre and misplaced corruption of motherhood’s maternal power. More recently, the black cat is also a reference to the Black Panthers, the progressive radical black movement in the USA active from 1966 to 1982.
The peanut is also laden with symbolism in many cultures, for example as a term for a small amount of money, an insignificant thing or person, something petty and also as slang for barbiturates. However in Chinese culture, the peanut, huáshēng, is symbolic of long life, prosperity, growth and the multiplication of wealth. Both of these symbolisms are referenced in the production line manifested here. Rose is also referring to The Shed Piece, 2006, by William Pope.L, in which a pipe emerges from a wall spilling a ton of peanut butter onto a garden shed. Pope.L has also examined the history of George Washington Carver in his work. The framed portrait of Carver shown with a plate of the emptied contents of one Black Cat jar is in part a tribute to both figures.
The factory’s purpose is the infinite production of farts from white girls. Each fart, sealed in its jar, comes from an anonymous source and constitutes an editioned work; both artwork and final product of an industrial process. White Girl Fart Factory takes one commercial commodity and transforms it into another.