Jadé Fadojutimi - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale in Association with Poly Auction Hong Kong Tuesday, June 8, 2021 | Phillips

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  • “I bathe in the conversations between colour, texture, line, form, composition, rhythm, marks and disturbances.” 
    — Jadé Fadojutimi


    London-born painter Jadé Fadojutimi has captured the attention of the art world, celebrated as an artistic force to be reckoned with for her vibrant, expressive canvases that are charged with energy and emotion. Aged just 28, in only four years following her graduation from the Royal College of Art in London she has already secured representation with three galleries, been honoured with institutional solo shows, and has work featured in prestigious museum collections worldwide – including the Tate in London, of which she is the youngest person in their collection. As the first work by the artist to be offered at auction in Asia, Concealment: An essential generated by the lack of shade is a prime example of the artist’s strong graphic impulse and painterly touch, showcasing Fadojutimi’s masterful approach to mark-making that defies all expectations of her medium. 


    Jadé Fadojutimi, 2021
    Photo © Jadé Fadojutimi

    Exploring Memory and Mood Through Colour and Abstract Form


    Grand in scale, Concealment: An essential generated by the lack of shade is composed of confident, slapdash strokes of colour that explode across the canvas surface, glimmering with electric hues that oscillate between foreground and background in seemingly endless ways. Swathes of emerald greens, azure blues and accents of honeyed orange reverberate around the work with a tantalising choreography of painterly gestures, manipulating the viewer’s perception through the atmospheric depictions that are elusively evoked. Firstly building up colour through brushing, pushing and smearing, before then also scraping it away, Fadojutimi creates a multi-layered, immersive surface that engages the viewer in a deep dialogue of introspection, delving into the themes of identity and a quest for self-knowledge that are at the heart of her hypnotic practice. 


    “I think we can translate a lot of moods into colour, and see it literally, too. I’ve been thinking about a lot of what it means to talk about identity, or question it... We are all colours that are constantly fluctuating.” 
    — Jadé Fadojutimi


    Embracing her natural tendency towards impulsion, Fadojutimi works quickly in extended bursts of activity, often late at night with music blasting in her studio. And as praised by Vogue, ‘we can almost imagine the raucous movement in her body in the strokes that make up these vivid masterpieces’i. Drawing influence from a variety of sources, her London studio is filled with objects, fabrics, Japanese anime, drawings and writings – all of which evoke nostalgic memories and thus afford her work a self-transcendent quality. Indeed, when the artist moved into this much larger space, she purposefully designed it to feel like her bedroom, as a ‘familiar environment that has always stirred [her] urge to create’ii



    Jadé Fadojutimi in her studio, 2021
    Courtesy of the Liverpool Biennial 

    Blurring the Line between Figurative and Abstraction 


    “A lot of my works are layered in what I am, or who I am. What I think things should be or shouldn’t be.” 
    — Jadé Fadojutimi 




    Willem de Kooning, The Visit, 1996-1997
    Collection of the Tate, United Kingdom
    © Willem de Kooning Revocable Trust/ARS, NY and DACS, London 2021



    Whilst the present painting is certainly situated within a highly abstracted realm, drawing comparisons to female abstract artists such as Phoebe Unwin and Amy Sillman, whom Fadojutimi cites as influences, it is also peppered with disguised figurative allusion. As such, her gestural handling of pigment is also akin to the approach of esteemed American Abstract Expressionist William de Kooning, or more recently, the British painter Cecily Brown (see for example, Lot 26 - Cecily Brown, The End (2006)).


    Just as de Kooning’s lush and textured canvases fuse body and landscape into one, and Brown’s delicately executed oil paintings hint at figurative elements echoed in rich colour, Fadojutimi employs expressive rhetoric informed by a narrative impulse to blur the boundaries between the genres. She has even noted that she hides specific personal references in all her works, thereby introducing a playful aspect that invites the viewers to examine the details with this in mind.



    Lot 26 – Cecily Brown, The End, 2006
    Estimate HK$4,000,000 – 6,000,000 / US$513,000 – 769,000



    The repeated forms and dramatic interplay of light and shadow in the present painting can thus be considered as channelling visions of nature, with various figurative elements unearthed amidst the flurry of gesture. We see this in the expressive lines of deep blue that cascade down the centre of the work in quick, confident strokes, recalling the image of a gushing waterfall that falls into the rounded off-white marks that bubble beneath. At the same time, the orange and rusted yellow dots scattered throughout appear almost to float like falling autumnal leaves, their colour palette evocative of seasons changing and the passing of time. The overall effect is emphasised by Fadojutimi’s dramatic use of chiaroscuro, which adds depth and complexity in a manner that is undeniably sublime. 



    Lot 31 – Chu Teh-Chun, Nuances de l’aube, 1998
    Estimate HK$2,800,000 – 3,800,000 / US$359,000 – 487,000


    An interesting comparison can be made between this interpretation of Fadojutimi’s abstract landscape and the work of Chinese-French painters Zao Wou-Ki and Chu Teh-Chun, who integrated the techniques of traditional Chinese calligraphy and ink painting with the free, gestural approach of Western Lyrical Abstraction. Lot 31 – Chu Teh-Chun’s Nuances de l’aube from 1998 showcases this similarity, as through pale yellow, verdant green, and sapphire and navy blue, Chu produces a rich layering of abstract line and form that too, suggests chance moments in nature, with oceanic, mountainous, and aquatic settings particularly coming to mind. Whilst Fadojutimi’s mark-making is more sharply defined, contrasting Chu’s preference for a thicker brush and softer blending of pigment, there is an incandescent glow that radiates from both pieces that demonstrates each artist’s skilled understanding of colour theory and composition.


    Concealment: An essential generated by the lack of shade 

    Despite having admitted that she loves looking out of her windows more than she desires to be outside, the environment does play a crucial part to her working process, and she divulges that ‘it affects [her] mood so much’. In an interview with ELEPHANT in 2017, Fadojutimi spoke about how the themes of identity and self-knowledge in relation to the environment around her, recalling that ‘as a child, [she] would always hate being in the sun, fearful of changing [her] appearance, or tanning, in case it would make [her] less beautiful, or a different person’iii. This revelation marks a link to the title of the present work, Concealment: An essential generated by the lack of shade, as when this riddle is deciphered, it alludes to ideas surrounding shelter and protection and a necessity for the ability to at times hide away. 

    At the same time, however, Fadojutimi is also an accomplished writer, and writing plays a crucial part in her creative process. Using writing as another way to articulate abstract thoughts, her texts are highly charged, unrestrained, and revealing of raw emotion, thus existing in parallel to her painting. This carries into her process of titling, as she explains that her titles are ‘natural associations, so whilst [she] is working, if there is a sentence or a word that comes to mind or reminds [her] of something, or something [she has] said in the past is brought to the surface, that will usually be the title’iv. Although ambiguous, the title Concealment: An essential generated by the lack of shade can thus be understood as another means for Fadojutimi to convey notions of herself into the painting, thereby adding another layer to the lyrical and poetic meanings that powerfully emerge. 

    Collector’s Digest


    Jadé Fadojutimi with her work installed in the Tate, London, as featured on the artist’s Instagram
    Courtesy of @jadefadojutimi


    Fadojutimi graduated with a BA from London’s Slade School of Fine Art in 2015 and an MA from the Royal College of Art in 2017, where she was awarded the Hine Painting Prize. Impressively, she has already presented solo exhibitions at key international venues, with upcoming solo exhibitions at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami (2021), Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo (2021); The Hepworth Wakefield (2022); and the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Turin (2022). She was also selected to be part of the prestigious Liverpool Biennial 2021, which ran from 20 March – 6 June. 

    Her work is in the collections of Tate, London; The Hepworth Wakefield, ICA Miami; Walker Art Center at the Contemporary Art Museum in Minneapolis; The Studio Museum in Harlem; and Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland. The artist is represented by Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, London; Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne; and Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo.




    i Katy Hessel, ‘27-Year-Old Painter Jadé Fadojutimi Is In A League Of Her Own’, Vogue, 31 August 2020, online
    ii Jadé Fadojutimi, quoted in David Trigg, ‘Jadé Fadojutimi – interview: I bathe in the conversations between colour, texture, line, form, composition, rhythm, marks and disturbances’, Studio International, 26 April 2021, online
    iii Jadé Fadojutimi, quoted in ‘Jadé Fadojutimi: Heliophobia’, ELEPHANT, 9 December 2017, online 
    iv Jadé Fadojutimi, quoted in Isabella Rose Celeste, ‘PAINTING THE INDESCRIBABLE: JADE FADOJUTIMI’, Love Magazine, Autumn 2020, online 


    • Provenance

      Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Artist Biography

      Jadé Fadojutimi

      Jadé Fadojutimi is a British contemporary artist who lives and works in London. A recent graduate of the Royal College of Art, Fadojutimi has seen a precipitous ascent to success: she is the youngest artist represented in the collection of the Tate, London, and has upcoming exhibitions planned for the Hepworth Wakefield and the Liverpool Biennial. Fadojutimi’s work is immersive and all-encompassing, featuring tightly woven lattices of ecstatic pigment and electric line. The raw but bubbly energy of her paintings reflects aspects of the artist’s own interiority, as she treats each canvas as an opportunity to explore undiscovered or under-interrogated aspects of her individuality. Fadojutimi believes that color and personality mingle and encourage one another; the matrices of line and color resemble the psychedelic spindles of neural networks, actualizing the artist’s investigative efforts as visual translations of the artist’s explorations of identity and fluidity.

      Fadojutimi brings a frenetic energy to painting, as many of her works are completed in late-night bursts of creativity; what may start the night as a blank canvas often emerges in the morning as a finished work. Describing her practice in environmental terms, Fadojutimi strives to incorporate the ineffable associations of memory absorbed from the warm moments and special objects of life; taken against the societal backdrop of their creation, Fadojutimi’s paintings shine out as optimistic beacons for dark times.

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Property from an Important Private Collection


Concealment: An essential generated by the lack of shade

signed and dated ‘March ’19 Jadé Fadojutimi’ on the reverse
oil on canvas
200.5 x 140 cm. (78 7/8 x 55 1/8 in.)
Painted in March 2019.

Full Cataloguing

HK$600,000 - 800,000 

Sold for HK$5,670,000

Contact Specialist

Charlotte Raybaud
Head of Evening Sale, 20th Century & Contemporary Art

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale in Association with Poly Auction

Hong Kong Auction 8 June 2021