Grape Soda

Grape Soda, 2017
Neon
243.8 x 92.1 x 10.2 cm
96 x 36 1/4 x 4 in
Edition of 3 plus 2 artist’s proofs

Art Basel Miami Beach
2017
Pilar Corrias Gallery
Installation View
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Grape Soda (2017), is a custom neon sculpture depicting the Tropical Fantasy soft drink avor often sold at bodegas in large cities. The Tropical Fantasy along with Orange Crush and Wild Cherry Berry soft drink avors all come into play across Self’s bodega inspired works. Grape Soda, references the neon signs seen on bodega shop fronts, while simultaneously functioning as part of the visual landscape of Black and Latino diasporic communities across New York City. The notion of a tropical fantasy works as a double entendre, as both a reference to the hyper-sexualisation of Black female bodies and the cultural positioning of Black men and women as wielding an exotic, unbridled sexual identity. The soda’s name is inherently racist and vague and it is marketed directly to people of colour, especially children, often in a predatory fashion. For the artist, the items throughout the bodega, their names and their consumption, mirror the ways in which the black body is othered and commodi ed by the culture at large. Consumers are coerced into purchasing these products, with the grape soda operating as an emblem of this cultural consumption. Grape Soda (2017) is a work from Tschabalala Self’s latest exhibition and body of work, Bodega Run.

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