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Museum Link:

Source Link:

Date Minted:  September 29, 2020

Artist Description:

White: "I Shall Think Nothing of Falling Downstairs."
"Twinkle, Twinkle, NFTea"
Inspired by the crypto rabbit hole...
follow me...

CohentheWriter’s Commentary:

Tucked into her bio on Rarible, artist Kitty Bast reveals the following tidbits about herself:

“I feel like a digital Magpie… plucking, stealing, cherry picking body parts from alleys of the internet and the physical world around me. Visuals, Art, noise, experiences, relationships, or words sang. I chew it up & spit it back out. I’m storing it in my nest I like to call identity.”


“[My] works are peculiar representations, often with body marks or tattoos, rich with symbolism & references to popular culture. Animals love to make appearances, as well as crypto culture. Mostly exploring perceptions of the body and how one ‘becomes’. Sometimes reflecting those perceptions back to the viewer.”

I bring these two thoughts to the forefront of this analysis of Bast’s piece White because, well, this is a piece which benefits from a codex. An image charged by motivations we can otherwise only guess at, White is a continuation of Bast’s exploration of the female body in all its warped, eye-deadened forms. Bast’s works are mighty idiosyncratic, there always being a strong current of menace in her compositions, stemming either from the color combinations or from the demonic positions and postures her characters take. Often nude, her character nevertheless skirt overt sexualization, their bodies —even though usually covered in tattoos and piercings, which might foment certain kink-based associations— are presented as threatening, turning them into objects of action instead of objects of, well, objectification. White is as threatening and unsettling as any of Bast’s pieces, and demonstrates the artist’s ability to churn most any idea through the sausage grinder of her sensibility and find an entirely unique, adept piece of art emerging on the other side.

Bast said it, and it holds true in White: The body marks and tattoos covering the woman’s body here are full of symbolism; they allude overtly and cutely to NFT culture. Written in black ink on the woman’s grey, shark-like skin, is a polygonal rendering of Lewis Carrol’s Alice, buffeted by the words “Follow me” (as in, further down the rabbit hole, something elucidated specifically in the Artist Description). Elsewhere, a mouse leans his little elbow on the rim of an inky tea cup bearing the letters “NF.” As in NFTea. Get it? Then there’s the rabbit with its mischievous gaze. There are the words “Twinkle Twinkle.” And front and center is another phrase “Think nothing of falling,” though this sentence fragment ends there, intentionally ambiguous. Tattoos aren’t the only things affixed to the woman’s form. Two nipple rings, one with a floating stopwatch attached to it by a chain. Long, alien black hair hanging down the length of the woman’s back. Most of her head —including her eyes and any other identifying information— is covered by a scalped rabbit’s skull, floppy ears and all, worn like a helmet. We only see the woman’s purple lips sticking out from underneath it. Purple lips contorted into a pout. 

We know that Bast is interested in exploring the body, especially the body as how it relates to identity. White seems quite forward in playing on a series of allusions to Lewis Carrol’s Alice in Wonderland, including ideas of his that were subsequently co-opted by the crypto and NFT worlds. The idea of following something “further down the rabbit hole,” is of course the prime example, and there’s Alice herself, and there’s the rabbit tattooed on the woman’s abdomen, another rabbit dismembered and worn as a skin, and the ticking stopwatch the White Rabbit wields as he discusses how late he is (in the Disney version “...for a very important date”). 

Falling down the crypto rabbit hole, as Bast says in her Artist Description, is the generally-accepted terminology for being enticed by this weird crypto world of possibilities, though this phrase itself was probably popularized as much by its inclusion in The Matrix as its original source material. Regardless, with White Bast does an incredible job of encapsulating the swirling miasma of attractive qualities that pull so many down this so-called rabbit hole in the first place. That alluring combination of sexuality and danger. The weird idiosyncrasy of the entire thing. The punkish attitude, and the unabashed nakedness of identities, intentions, interests (fascinating when considering the anonymity aspect). All of that is there in White’s central figure. The sneer. The vague inhumanness. The copious act of living out movie-influenced fantasies. 

What do we find Bast’s heroine in the process of becoming? Is there more to her identity beyond the allusions to the crypto world that have been imprinted upon her? I’m not sure. What I do know is that nothing about this character is natural. The piercings, the “clothing,” the tattoos, all of it are outside addendums to the figure’s form; augmentations. The character is found in the process of reconfiguring herself, literally changing her body in every way to align further with the community she seems to have either stumbled on or become an emissary for. She is not just “becoming” a certain person, but is “becoming” the community itself, a holy prophet, a sacrificial calf bearing its rancher’s brand. Or perhaps she’s overtly becoming what the outside artist (like a market force) wants her to become. Maybe she’s having identity painted onto her, assembled just like the image she’s a part of. 

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