Kim Jones at Pierogi

mountain girl door
2 May – 8 June, 2014
Opening Reception:
Fri, 2 May. 7-9pm
Pierogi will be open late for Frieze night:
May 9th, 6-9pm


Another body of drawings enters a world of teeming fantasy, like fairy tales from the devil’s diary. They are nothing on the order of the brooding War Drawings and show an exquisite facility that is a seductive combination of Goya and Daumier. Mudman also inhabits this world but doesn’t dominate it; he turns up as a quester – a traveler looking for answers in a world bereft of them. The third body of Jones’ drawings makes use of photographs of the artist in the Mudman guise. In them, Mudman goes about his day – posing, drawing, walking. Strange growths expand into environments, the harness reaches enormous proportions; it’s a world in constant mutation. (Richard Flood, 2013)

In the 1970’s Kim Jones’ performance persona, “Mudman,” could be seen roaming the streets of Los Angeles and Venice, CA and later, in the 1980’s, in New York City; always covered in mud, a nylon stocking stretched over his face, and carrying on his back an unwieldy and crudely constructed lattice-work structure of sticks, tape, mud, and twine. From the beginning he was also drawing, painting, and making three-dimensional works. His two-dimensional pieces range from intricate graphite drawings involving X and dot figures and erasure, indicating movement of each force (referred to as “war drawings”); to works that incorporate acrylic paint, ink line work, and collage; to paintings on photographs (most often of his own past performances), many of which have been made over a period of thirty plus years.

This exhibition will include drawings and paintings on paper begun as early as 1971 and completed in 2013–2014, following Jones’ uncommon habit of allowing work he considers incomplete to sit, sometimes for years, working back into them from time to time until he is satisfied with the results. Also included will be recently completed war drawings, and three new sculptures: Doll House, Baby, and Rat Ball. Doll House was constructed by Jones early in his career as a functional, three-level doll house. He later painted over the structure and created a labyrinthine war drawing inside, each floor housing a separate battle. This will be Jones’ seventh one-person exhibition at Pierogi.

The “Chinese Poetry” quote below suggests multiple possibilities and permutations of three simple words: “mountain girl door.” Jones’ vocabulary similarly draws on and expands into a multiplicity of visual possibilities and potential interpretations.

Kim Jones’ work has been included in notable exhibitions such as Connecting_Unfolding (National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, Korea. 2013); Pacific Standard Time: Under the Big Black Sun, 1974-81 (the Geffen Contemporary at MoCA, LA. 2011); Compass In Hand: Selections from the Judith Rothschild Foundation Contemporary Drawings Collection (the Museum of Modern Art, NYC. 2009);  Collage: The Unmonumental Picture (New Museum, NYC. 2008); the 52nd International Art Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia (Venice. 2007); Disparities & Deformations: Our Grotesque, (Site Santa Fe, NM. 2004), and; Out of Actions: Between Performance and the Object (Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA and MAK, Vienna. 1998). His work was the subject of a comprehensive traveling retrospective, Mudman: The Odyssey of Kim Jones. He is a 2009 United States Artists Fellow and has received fellowships and residencies from ArtPace (San Antonio, TX), the Sirius Art Center (Ireland), the American Academy in Rome and, the Mattress Factory (Pittsburgh, PA).

Chinese Poetry

“The girl waits at the door of her house on the mountain.”

What it literally says is “mountain girl door.”

So maybe

A girl from the mountain is waiting outside my door.  A girl climbs the mountain and comes to a door.

To get the girl you have to go through a door into the mountain.

The mountain is a door only a girl can open.

The girl’s as big as a mountain and can’t get through the door.

What’s the next line?

(From Love and Information, a play by Caryl Churchill; Nick Hern Books, London: 2012)

For more information on the process and content of Kim Jones’ war drawings, watch the video interview with the artist that the Indianapolis Museum of Art produced in conjunction with the group show Graphite which was on view at the museum in 2012-13 and included several of Kim’s drawings.