grass on a bussy street
Grass on a Busy Street
October 28 – December 2, 2022
Peres Projects, Seoul
Peres Projects is pleased to present Grass on a Busy Street, Bayrol Jiménez’ (b. 1984 in Oaxaca, MX) second solo exhibition with the gallery and his first in Asia.
Working in oil and acrylic, Jiménez builds up layers of color and detail in vivid compositions that combine abstract and representational painting styles. His brushstrokes blend foreground and background together, through a mixture of transparent and opaque planes. The artist works intuitively, based on quick sketches that grow and morph according to Jiménez’ spontaneous process.
Following his previous exhibition at Peres Projects, the artist extends his research into Mexican mythology and origin stories, to focus on the themes and narrative elements that mythic stories from around the world share. These patterns in belief and storytelling reflect the values and pursuits that humanity hold in common and it is these core questions that Jiménez pursues through this body of works.
Drawing from a parallel research practice, this exhibition was influenced by Joseph Campbell’s 1949 text “The Hero with a Thousand Faces” and after which The Hero of the Thousand Helmets (2022) is titled. In Jiménez’ work the trope of the heroic character – a figure across myths which is commonly held as a masculine warrior or adventurer – is critiqued and broken down, in this work a hazy hybrid creature assembled from human, plant and animal features.
The figures in these works are fantastical, hybrid creatures with limbs extending at odd angles and who grow from bone to stamen. Informed by the artist’s sustained interest in the worldbuilding of comic books and manga, his bright color palette lends a joyfulness to the subject matter. Here he often depicts spirits that are not only monstrous, but, like the harvest deity in The Spirit of the Corn Seeds (2022), bring life.
If myths help civilizations to orient themselves towards the unknown, to one another and to creation and death, Jiménez assembles his own lexicon of mythic symbols. In some ways, the pursuit of this inquiry is an expression of the artist’s frustration with the world, and the violence and chaos he witnesses become banal in their frequency. His work is an effort of making sense of the world, and to assert agency and responsibility through his worldbuilding.
The title takes its name from the popular expression “grass won’t grow on a busy street”. Noticing that wild plants do still grow along the busy streets of our cities, the artist amended the title for this exhibition. The ancient knowledge that Jiménez pursues throughout his work is materialized through the images of these plants, persisting and growing even in the nutrient-poor, tiny cracks.