Jadé Fadojutimi - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale in Association with Poly Auction Hong Kong Tuesday, November 30, 2021 | Phillips
  • “I bathe in the conversations between colour, texture, line, form, composition, rhythm, marks and disturbances.” 
    — Jadé Fadojutimi


    One of the most exciting painters working today, London-born Jadé Fadojutimi has proven herself an indomitable  force to be reckoned with in the world of contemporary art. At just twenty-eight years old, she has already been honoured with institutional solo shows around the world, has three galleries representing her, participated in Biennales, ranked alongside the likes of The Duchess of Cambridge and Vivienne Westwood in Vogue’s list of the '25 Most Influential Women in 2021', and has work featured in numerous public collections including the Tate in London, of which she is the youngest artist in their collection.


    On the 8th June 2021, when Phillips in Association with Poly Auction debuted Fadojutimi’s work at auction in Asia, Concealment: An essential generated by the lack of shade (2019) far surpassed its pre-auction estimate range of HK$600,000 – 800,000, achieving a remarkable HK$5,670,000 and setting a new world record for the artist at the time. Indicative of the enthusiasm surrounding her practice, that record has since been broken three times over, with the current top result achieved on 15 October 2021 by Phillips London for her work Myths of Pleasure (2017), which hammered down for £1,172,000 plus Premium.  


    Fishing For Steps was created in 2017–the same year as Fadojutimi’s graduation degree show from London’s prestigious Royal College of Art where she was first caught the attention of with the Pippy Houldsworth gallery, launching her meteoric rise to success. Perfectly exemplifying the dynamism and vibrancy for which she has become critically acclaimed, the work was presented at The Contemporary British Painting Prize 2017 exhibition at London’s Orleans House Gallery. In her accompanying artist statement, Fadojutimi explains: ‘the fascination with paint comes with the interlocking of textures, where the painting converses with itself on the surface - an interaction that lacks control and so liberates the material.’ i





     A studio visit with Jadé Fadojutimi ahead of the Liverpool Biennale, March 2021



    Harmony of Colour and Line


    Against a lavender blue backdrop highlighted by splashes of lemon yellow, Fadojutimi paints slapdash strokes of vibrant green, black and white that oscillate between foreground and background – with hints of red peeking through to add to the mix. At the heart of her sprawling compositions is an exploration into the fluid nature of identity in relation to the world that shapes it, and as our gaze traverses around Fishing For Steps’ gestural line and chromatic intensity, we too, find ourselves immersed into a voyage of the imagination enacted through the language of paint.


    Often working in fortissimo fits of inspiration late into the night with music blasting from her studio—a method of working also preferred by Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara— Fadojutimi beautifully builds up layers of pigment thinned with Liquin, a quick-drying medium that gives the oil a high sheen. As art critic Jennifer Higgie explains, ‘this results in pictures whose surfaces recall panes of glass or fast-moving water: Shifting, reflective, impatient’. ii Indeed, rhythmically charged by the raw energy of her intricately layered lattice of brushstroke, colour blossoms across Fishing For Steps as if in choreographed dance.


    Although Fadojutimi’s command of colour recalls the influence of numerous artists, among them David Hockney, Henri Matisse, Makiko Kudo, and Sigmar Polke, the transportive power of her dream-like compositions largely owes to her love for Japanese anime, videogames, poetry, and movie soundtracks. In the artist’s own words, ‘I treasure living in an escapist reality, so it’s only natural that this has had a large impact on my life and practice.’ iii



    Invisible | Artwork | ArtFacts
    Makiko Kudo, Invisible, 2011
    © Makiko Kudo 


    In a Dance with her Canvas


    “It’s stimulating exposing the subtleties of organic forms found along the process of painting and I relish manipulating their malleability, carrying them in and out of focus, making their recognition fragile.” 
    — Jadé Fadojutimi 



    Eddie Martinez, Christmas in July, 2016
    Sold by Phillips Hong Kong in Association with Poly Auction on 8 June 2021 for HK$5,922,000
    © 2021 Eddie Martinez / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York



    Like Eddie Martinez who likens his physical method of painting to being in a boxing match, stepping in and out of confrontation with the canvas, when Fadojutimi paints she is constantly in motion, guided by the ‘strong will of the painting’s desire to exist’ ii. As Jennifer Higgie notes of the energy Fadojutimi pours into her painting: ‘globules of paint erupt like buds from the ground. These pictures seem like a garden in spring or a choppy sea; at times, the mood is so exuberant that it appears to be on the brink of exploding. Colours pulse like a bass line given centre stage. It’s clear: paint is an organic substance, as replete with possibility as newly composted earth.’ ii


    Fadojutimi’s triumph of this visceral approach has earned the young artist a cohort of critically favourable comparisons, particularly to Willem de Kooning, Lee Krasner, Joan Mitchell, and the other leading exponents of Abstract Expressionism. Similar to de Kooning, whilst Fadojutimi’s canvases are undoubtedly situated within a highly abstracted realm, works like Fishing For Steps exquisitely showcase how she flirts with figuration. From the silhouettes of animals, to figures and the outline of a shoe - the composition is peppered with representational allusion that reveal layers of meaning upon extended contemplation, beckoning the viewer to try and seek out recognisable cues.




    Willem de Kooning, Abstraction, 1949 – 1950
    Collection of the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid
    © 2021 The Willem de Kooning Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York



    As an accomplished writer, torn out pages of jotted down notes and poetry line the walls of Fadojutimi’s studio, often feeding into the titles of her works. Although relatively ambiguous, the title Fishing For Steps can perhaps be understood from the artist’s perspective as she pursues move after move to bring her composition to life. At the same time, Fishing For Steps also represents the viewing experience as we delve into the harmonious details of the rhapsodic canvas to explore notions of identity and fluidity from in and amongst the entanglement of mark and recurring form. 


    Collector’s Digest


    Fadojutimi graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from London’s Slade School of Fine Art in 2015, and a Master of Fine Arts from the Royal College of Art in 2017, where she was awarded the Hine Painting Prize. Since her first solo exhibition at the Pippy Houldsworth Gallery in London in 2017-2018, she has been honoured with solo presentations of her work in key locations around the world. This includes at PEER UK, London, and Galerie Gisela Capitain in Cologne in 2019, and again at the Pippy Houldsworth Gallery in 2020.


    The artist’s American institutional debut will open on 30 November 2021 at the Miami Institute for Contemporary Art. Titled Jadé Fadojutimi: Yet, Another Pathetic Fallacy, the exhibition will run until 17 April 2022. Fadojutimi also has an upcoming solo exhibition arranged with the Taka Ishii Gallery in Tokyo, with shows at The Hepworth Wakefield and the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Turin to follow next year.


    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 Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris also just announced its acquisition of a 2020 work by the artist for inclusion in their permanent collection.


    Fadojutimi is represented by Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, London; Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne; and Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo.




    i Jadé Fadojutimi, quoted in The Contemporary British Painting Prize 2017: Shortlist Selection, exh. cat., The Stables Gallery at Orleans House Gallery, London, 2017, p. 16

    ii Jennifer Higgie, Jadé Fadojutimi: Jesture, exh. cat., Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, London, 2020, p. 11

    iii 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

    • Provenance

      Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, London
      Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2018

    • Exhibited

      London, Orleans House Gallery, The Stables Gallery, The Contemporary British Painting Prize 2017: Shortlist Selection, 25 August - 22 October 2017, p. 17 (illustrated)

    • 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 of an Important Private British Collector


Fishing For Steps

signed, titled and dated 'Jadé Fadojutimi "'Fishing For Steps'" 2017 JF' on the reverse
oil on canvas
100.4 x 145 cm. (39 1/2 x 57 1/8 in.)
Painted in 2017.

Full Cataloguing

HK$1,200,000 - 2,200,000 

Sold for HK$4,788,000

Contact Specialist

Charlotte Raybaud
Head of Evening Sale, 20th Century & Contemporary Art
+852 2318 2026

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

Hong Kong Auction 30 November 2021