The Contest: Chicago

Mariane Ibrahim presents Clotilde Jiménez’s newest body of work, The Contest, his first solo show with the gallery. 

His practice is rooted in conceptions such as the fragmentation of queerness, and in this series, his relationship to his father and athleticism. Through these techniques, Jiménez examines the way the intersection of athleticism and queerness relate to himself as a Black male. 

The Contest unravels Jiménez’s own queer imagination to physicality. The works grapple with his deeply personal and once estranged relationship with his father, a bodybuilder and boxer. Jiménez adopted the boxer and bodybuilder as motifs, recalling early ideas of the body, specifically the Black male body.

Placed within each ‘pose’ or boxing ring, the large scale boxers and body builders brawl, their positions mighty, next to bronze sculptures of heads with colorful boxing headgear. He finds beauty in the color and sculptural physicality of boxing headgear and the groin protector that transforms the body into something strong, powerful and guarded.

As a progression of Jiménez’s work, the latest iteration of his colorful collage materials alluded to Western culture through the reuse of everyday materials such as wallpaper, popular clothing brand names, magazine clippings and amate, traditional bark papers of Mexican craft. The materiality of charcoal allowed the artist to construct statuesque marble-like figures that make reference to Greco-Roman sculpture, and the ways male beauty has been interpreted through the lens of a Western art historical cannon. 

Through physically cutting these materials out, and piecing them back together Jiménez permits the reconstruction of memories by using the material fragments of imagery which were literally part of his, possibly his father's, and maybe even our own memories.