Grater 2,

Rosemarie Trockel, German, born 1952
Clay-based ceramic and platinum glaze
322.6 x 259.1 x 5.1 cm (127 x 102 x 2 in.)
Acquired 2007

Rosemarie Trockel has been challenging established cultural notions about sexuality, social identity, and artistic production since the early 1980s. Everyday objects associated with the domestic sphere and women’s work—such as stove burners, irons, brooms, soup ladles, and scrub brushes—are displaced and reformulated by Trockel in response to the construction and deconstruction of feminine myths. She is best known for large-scale knitting pictures made using computers and knitting machines and into which she integrated culturally and politically charged symbols such as the hammer and sickle, the swastika, or the Playboy bunny as repetitive ornaments. Refusing to be tied to any one medium or approach she implements a range of techniques including knitting, sculpture, drawing, painting, installation, and video, creating an open and ambiguous space with undercurrents of aggression

In Grater 2, Trockel reconfigures a simple hand-held utensil as a commanding, oversized wall sculpture made of thirty-six individual, ceramic planks. Visible beneath the thick glossy metallic glaze is the wood grain texture created by the artist’s pressing the clay slabs into wooden boards. Two comparatively diminutive axes attached on either side suggest that these tools could be used for woodworking—a form of labor usually reserved for men. Countering this intimation of masculine physical labor are the gouges and scratches made by Trockel as she molded the tool’s surface.