Yautepec is pleased to present “Bad Faith,” its second individual exhibition for Ryan Perez, an American artist of Mexican-Filipino descent who lives and works in Glendale, California. The exhibition will be on view from October 22nd through December 19th, 2015.
The actor Paul Walker, best known for his role as Brian O’Conner in The Fast & The Furious films, was born in Glendale, California. Walker’s ancestry was primarily English, mixed with German, Swiss, and Irish blood. However, his close friend and screenmate Vin Diesel, affectionately called him “Pablo.”
Ryan Perez, as a teenager growing up in the Inland Empire, an area 50 miles east of Los Angeles, was an avid participant in its street racing culture. When Perez was 18 years old, The Fast & The Furious was released in theaters, mainstreaming the culture of street racing nearly overnight and launching one of the most successful film franchises of all time. Street racing suddenly had a new face, but none of Perez’s street racing friends looked like Paul Walker. Perez, disillusioned, left street racing behind.
Paul Walker died tragically on November 30th, 2013 in Santa Clarita, California, on a quiet street called Hercules that was a popular spot for drifting cars. He and his friend Roger Rodas were in a red 2005 Porsche Carrera GT, estimated to be traveling between 80 mph and 93 mph in a zone marked for 45 mph. Paul Walker, the human, met a demise faithful to his fictional image — too fast, too furious.
Bad faith (from French, mauvaise foi) is a philosophical concept used by existentialist philosophers Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir to describe the phenomenon where a human being under pressure from societal forces adopts false values and disowns their innate freedom hence acting inauthentically.
Optional, Keyless Entry (2015) is a series of wall-mounted sculptural works that reference custom and factory-issue vehicle modifications. Its overlapping panels — carbon fiber sheets, images of Prius C doorhandles, modified stickerbombs — function like a Venn diagram of conflicting cultural ideologies: the car as symbol of rebellion, conformity, thrill, responsibility, flash, and practicality. At each diagram’s opaque center exists the potential to identify with and desire all things at once.
I.E. Barbarians (2015) is a series of black and white photographs depicting skid marks and donuts — anonymous and ecstatic artifacts — left behind in a series of cul-de-sacs whose rational purpose is unclear, since they serve no residential developments. In the horizon of each image is a freeway, presumably connecting commuters to their destinations, their families, their workplaces, and their obligations.
Two video monitors, positioned vertically and back-to-back on a mobile monitor stand, comprise the work Moving Blanket (2015). On each screen, the camera slowly pans in close-up across the stitched geometric pattern of the surface of a moving blanket. The blanket is in between; it is the manifestation of bad faith. It ensures the safe passage of one’s history into one’s future, the free decision one makes with oneself not to be free.
Paul Walker became Brian O’Conner, an image indivisible from automotive horsepower. Paul Walker could not have died in a Prius but Paul Walker was, in fact, a mortal. For Perez, the death of Paul Walker made the one-time usurper of his culture suddenly relatable again. Because, Paul Walker (2015) is a gesture of reconciliation. The work is a custom-printed sunshade which features Paul Walker’s forehead and hair on one side and the back of his head on the other. Given that all cars have faces — headlights as eyes, grill as mouth — this work completes his transformation.