EXHIBITION: Jason Rhoades at Hauser, Wirth & Schimmel, Los Angeles


“Jason Rhoades installations 1994 – 2006”

at Hauser, Wirth & Schimmel, Los Angeles
until May 21st, 2017


The Creation Myth – 1998 – courtesy Friedrich Christian Flick Collection im Hamburg Banhof, Berlin


“Jason Rhoades, the Symbolism in 3D”, by Beatrice Chassepot


The exhibition unfolds over 28,000 square feet, tracing the evolution of the artist’s vision and methods through career-defining works: ‘Swedish Erotica and Fiero Parts’ (1994); ‘My Brother / Brancuzi’ (1995); ‘The Creation Myth’ (1998); ‘My Madinah. In pursuit of my ermitage…’ (2004); ‘The Black Pussy… and the Pagan Idol Workshop’ (2005), and ‘Tijuanatanjierchandelier’ (2006)

Jason Rhoades completed his art studies at UCLA in 1993, where professors Chris Burden, Nancy Rubins, Charles Ray, Paul McCarthy, and Richard Jackson influenced his highly personal experimentation with performance and sculpture. Rhoades lived and worked in Los Angeles until his untimely death in 2006 at the age of 41.

Jason Rhoades was a discovery (another one) of LA gallerist Rosamund Felsen. Rhoades’ first solo show in Los Angeles, ‘Swedish Erotica and Fiero Parts’ was presented at Rosamund Felsen Gallery in West Hollywood, in 1994.



1/ Recommendation to the public

For those who don’t know about Rhoades, I strongly recommend to start with the video that gives you some clues about the mental process of the artist.

This is typically the kind of exhibition for which you have to arrive with an open mind and no a priori.

Once you have shaped your mind and opened your Chakras, you have to circulate into each installation to discover that hotch-potch of clues.

2/ Let’s try to “crack” the clues with the first (best) installation “Swedish Erotica and Fiero Parts (1994)”:


Jason Rhoades
View of Swedish Erotica and Fiero Parts 1994 – courtesy of Hauser & Wirth collection Switzerland

This is his only work to specifically reference the urban and cultural landscape of LA.

The items on display are all from one’s ordinary life. They are all re-manufactured, in order to excerpt the idea of what they are. For example the buckets around the table represent the idea of a seat. Imagine he’d put a stool instead, it would have bring a narrow vision of the idea to seat…. and so on… for example, the awkwardly made bowls made of clay bring the idea of a bowl etc…

And the yellow color both links them all together to create a whole, and raise the whole to another level, the Symbolism

Jason Rhoades’installations are an extension of the Symbolism that was born in Europe

In ancient Greece, the “symbolon” was a shard of pottery broken into two pieces; Each piece was given to the ambassadors of two countries or allied cities as a proof of this alliance…

Isn’t it the description of the yellow installation “Swedish Erotica and Fiero Parts”?

In Europe in the 19th Century where the Symbolism movement was elaborated, the “Symbolists” believed that Art must represent absolute truths that cannot be described directly. Thus, they wrote in a very metaphorical and suggestive way, endowing particular images and objects with a symbolic meaning.

This new aestheticism of symbolism was developed by Beaudelaire, Stéphane Mallarmé, Paul Verlaine during the years 1860-70

And continued with Jason Rhoades through his messy yet brilliant installations.

BCh, Los Angeles, February 19th, 2017


jason rhoades
My Madinah. In pursuit of my emitage © The Estate of Jason Rhoades. Courtesy the estate, Hauser & Wirth and David Zwirner


TIJUANATANJIERCHANDELIER – 2006 – courtesy the estate, Hauser & Wirth and David Zwirner