At Artpace, Jason Rhoades presents IMPALA: The International Museum Project About Leaving and Arriving. As the title implies, the central element of this project is a car, a recurring theme and source material in Rhoades’ work. For IMPALA, Rhoades drove his Chevrolet Impala from Los Angeles to San Antonio, with a second Chevrolet, a Caprice, in tow on a trailer. The Caprice’s engine was then rebuilt in Texas and returned to California. The process of driving and repairing was meticulously documented and exhibited in digital form. The digital display panel, a “hard-drive flatwork,” as described by the artist, is presented alongside the functional trailer and a second sculptural expression of a trailer, made from the aluminum tubes that have become a familiar material from recent exhibits.
Each of Rhoades’ installations merges with the next, and his residency at Artpace is linked to his project Perfect World at the Deichtorhallen in Hamburg and subsequent exhibition at David Zwirner Gallery in New York. In both shows, and at ArtPace, labor and process are celebrated. States of transition—a structure under construction, a road trip underway, a vehicle waiting to be revived—mark the transitional nature of Rhoades’ work.
Jason Rhoades extends the boundaries of art and artmaking, developing his own language and aesthetic that has roots in performance and popular culture. There is little distinction between the process and the product, between experience and storytelling. Rhoades builds his own world, where autobiography and material are interdependent. In Rhoades’ world, identity is constructed through consumer products and media images, and society is thus defined by the building, preservation, arrangement and destruction of these products. The result is a theatrical mise en scène, one that becomes a logo or brand of the artist himself.