PeaRoeFoam. The Impetuous Process & from the Costner Complex Press Release
May 11—June 29, 2002
Opening on Friday May 10, the gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of new works by the American artist Jason Rhoades. Entitled PeaRoeFoam. The Impetuous Process & from the Costner Complex, this will be the artist's fourth solo exhibition at the gallery. The exhibition will bring together elements from the artist's last project entitled Costner Complex (Perfect Process) that was shown last year at the Portikus in Frankfurt, and his most recent project entitled The Impetuous Process, which will premier at the gallery.
As the title of the exhibition implies, Jason Rhoades' work is fundamentally not finite, but instead continuously connects one project and exhibition to the next in an ongoing process. As different as all of Jason Rhoades' projects might seem and are in their physical manifestation, they are still connected through a set of common concerns that thread themselves through Rhoades' entire body of work to date: his attempt to map out the conditions in which art can be made, and the subversion of any conventions that stand in the way of the production of art. Rhoades is on a mission to empower the artist. One of visual art's most basic premises, i.e. the completion of the work of art, is under constant attack by Rhoades: "If you know anything about my work you know that it is never finished".
For the show at Portikus entitled Costner Complex (Perfect Process), Rhoades turned the exhibition space into a type of process factory. In production line fashion, assistants chopped, dehydrated, pickled and preserved a selection of specific vegetables, which have played a significant role in earlier works by Rhoades. This Gardeniera alla Potpourri was then placed on slow-moving Lazy Susans, and in turn exposed to the complete filmic oeuvre of Kevin Costner on 23 television monitors. The essence and aesthetic principles of Kevin Costner's work were thus captured in 1000 glass jars/ jugs. The results of this complex bottling process–which took up almost the entire exhibition period in Frankfurt–will now be seen in New York for the first time.
Back in Los Angeles, after closing his Frankfurt pickling factory, the artist started to develop his so-called grand machine in order to produce his latest endeavor: a brand new product and a revolutionary new material titled PeaRoeFoam. The PeaRoeFoam, pronounced pea-roe-foam, is made from whole green peas, white virgin beaded foam and fish bait styled salmon eggs, which combined with non-toxic white glue, create a versatile and fast-drying building material that hardens completely and can be used in various applications. With the help of many assistants employed by the grand machine, Rhoades studio now has produced 5000 PeaRoeFoam units to be displayed and used in the gallery. The raw ingredients of PeaRoeFoam are packaged in IVORY SNOW soap boxes re-created from the original 1972 Ivory Snow soap box. The soap boxes are of particular interest to Rhoades, as the beautiful "99.44% pure" mother featured on these boxes was Marilyn Chambers, the actress who in the same year that these boxes came out, had starred in one of the first feature length-porn films ever made: Behind the Green Door. The wide appeal of the image of the Ivory Snow mother, ultimately led to the mainstream success of Behind the Green Door and this cultural intersection created what the artist refers to as: "a great accident". Rhoades does not see an "accident" such as this as coincidental, but rather as a trigger that creates changes in perception.
Jason Rhoades plans to use the PeaRoeFoam in a series of upcoming exhibitions in the next nine months, such as his show at the Museum of Modern Art in Vienna, entitled My Special Purpose, and the exhibition the liver pool for the Tate Liverpool Biennale.
For the exhibition at the gallery, Rhoades will instruct specially trained PeaRoeFoam-ers to carry out The Impetuous Process:
... standing at the large block of paletted and boxed and wrapped pearoefoam, tearing back the stretch film, then cutting the straps, if needed...... tugging open the cardboard box, picking a kit and using the round table, then piercing the plastic with a finger and then removing the shrink film freeing up the glove and glue...... Then laying the box flat following the perforations with your fingernail then sticking your finger in the baby's mouth popping the lid out (careful not to spill the virgin bead)....... Then biting the orange head off the glue and with the tip of the glue bottle still in your mouth pull out the jar of salmon eggs from the box (but remember to crack open the lid of the jar before putting it down with in arms reach) and then with both hands letting the glue ooze carefully over the top of the green peas and virgin bead and a little over the edges......Then put on the one glove and caress the pea and the bead and the glue softly at first sticking the virgin bead to your fingertips so it doesn't blow away, then finessing with your wrist make sure all is mixed thoroughly and every pea-ball is coated evenly, then dig out a small nest in the pea-foam and then spawn your eggs in the middle of the newly formed pearoefoam pile then slowly churn the roe amongst the peas and virgin bead....... And then through the green door, then with the lid of the box as your pallet scoop lift out the goo and throw it in the pile with the other pearoefoam, then put the rest (the glove the box the glue bottle etc.) in the other pile and then wait a moment and repeat. [Jason Rhoades, April 2002].