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  • Jadé Fadojutimi’s vibrant paintings interrogate the precariousness of self-permanence and how our environments inform our identities. Painted during the final year of her MA program at the Royal College of Art, Lotus Land, 2017, is exemplary of the highly evocative visual idiom and formal inventiveness that has catapulted the artist to international fame in the last few years. She is widely celebrated as one of the most unique voices of her generation, a reputation solidified by her status as the youngest artist in the collection of Tate, London, at just 27 years old; in 2021, she will participate in the Liverpool Biennale and a solo show of her work will be presented at the Hepworth Wakefield.  

    "The self is so transient, we are very fluid beings, and we adapt to our conditions quickly."
     — Jadé Fadojutimi

    Henri Rousseau, The Repast of the Lion, circa 1907. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Image copyright © The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Image source: Art Resource, NY
    Henri Rousseau, The Repast of the Lion, circa 1907. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Image copyright © The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Image source: Art Resource, NY

    Fadojutimi’s aesthetic is informed by lived experiences, specifically those in which the artist encounters a sense of otherness, which she confronts head on using paint as ammunition. Biographical yet simultaneously shattering the conception of a wholly-contained self, Fadojutimi’s oeuvre is replete with painterly waves of hopes, desires, fears and imaginaries.

     

    Locating Lotus Land 

     

    In Lotus Land, Fadojutimi builds up layers of navy and emerald acrylic and oil paints, inserting several openings of lime green and purple within the center of the composition. Turquoise paint is poured on the right side of the work, cut by sharp streaks of a deeper indigo blue. Lively strokes of red careen across the sky blue pool that grounds the lower half of the canvas as short and round streaks of pink hover upon two mounds of lavender. 

     

     

    While the tropically lush color palette of Lotus Land conjures a specific and familiar memory of an aquatic setting, this illusion is disrupted by the vigorous gestural techniques on view in the work. The viewer is encouraged to question how a place (or space) like Lotus Land can be constructed—and what would be necessary for such a utopian place to exist. Typical of Fadojutimi’s paintings, Lotus Land opens up an expanse representative of not only the artist’s world but also of a communal, shared existence.

     

    Capturing a Sense of Self 

     

    From quick, highly gestural brushstrokes to the fields of color simmering with kinetic energy,  Fadojutimi’s works may at first glance appear to be purely abstract, detached from figuration and the physical world. While Lotus Land is certainly situated within a highly abstracted realm, the work is still informed by a narrative impulse; Fadojutimi has noted that she hides specific personal references in all of her works. “I think of my work as a diary of my life,” she expressed.i  

    "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

    Gerhard Richter, Abstraktes Bild, 1978. Tate Gallery, London, Artwork © Gerhard Richter 2020 (0200)
    Gerhard Richter, Abstraktes Bild, 1978. Tate Gallery, London, Artwork © Gerhard Richter 2020 (0200)

    Fadojutimi’s gravitation to and expert manipulation of paint as a medium informs the narrative aspect of her works. She confronts concerns or insecurities about a lack of self caused from the notion that identity is fixed: it’s her own plurality of selves that are investigated in her composition. From an almost rhythmic variation of gesture, portions of the canvas appear as though paint was poured directly onto it, while in others Fadojutimi scraped the surface before it finished drying, revealing the spectrum of colors sitting below—reminiscent of Gerhard Richter’s Abstraktes Bildes.

     

    Planned Gestures 

     

    “Painting fills the gaps in language. There is a lot that I can’t necessarily put into words,” Fadojutimi elucidated. “We respond in ways that we only know how. When I’m making a painting, unexplained emotions come out. Language acts as a barrier between the work and the person viewing it.”ii This ethos, combined with the raw physicality of Fadojutimi’s paintings, evokes a direct comparison to Abstract Expressionism and artists who employed gesture’s ability to announce the spiritual or inexplicable. In this regard, her work is redolent of that of Jackson Pollock, Joan Mitchell, and Willem de Kooning and takes its place within the grand traditional of gestural abstraction and modernism.

     

    Joan Mitchell, No Rain, 1976. Museum of Modern Art, New York, Digital Image © The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA / Art Resource, NY, Artwork © Estate of Joan Mitchell
    Joan Mitchell, No Rain, 1976. Museum of Modern Art, New York, Digital Image © The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA / Art Resource, NY, Artwork © Estate of Joan Mitchell

    However, spontaneity does not figure into Fadojutimi’s works; she meticulously plans her compositions beforehand, mentally constructing her “environments” and often mapping the painting out by drawing before approaching the canvas. Despite the relinquishment of control palpable in Lotus Land, its careful intent and extensive consideration urge us to contemplate each mark. Pushing the diaristic aspect of her work to new heights, the work echoes the profundity of its concepts that underpin it.

     

    Collectors Digest 

     

    • Having exhibited internationally—with solo shows at PEER, London and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami—Fadojutimi is one of the most exciting British artists of her generation.

     

    • Despite formidable waiting lists at all of the artist’s representing galleries, her work is meticulously placed in museum and important private collections. Lotus Land is the first painting by the artist to come to auction.

     

    Jadé Fadojutimi, I Present your Royal Highness, 2018. Tate Gallery, London, Artwork © Jadé Fadojutimi
    Jadé Fadojutimi, I Present your Royal Highness, 2018. Tate Gallery, London, Artwork © Jadé Fadojutimi

    i Jadé Fadojutimi, quoted in Katy Hessel, “27-Year-Old Painter Jadé Fadojutimi is in a League of Her Own,” British Vogue, August 30, 2020, online.
    ii Jadé Fadojutimi, quoted in “Jadé Fadojutimi: Heliophobia,” Elephant, December 9, 2017, online.

    • Provenance

      Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, London
      Private Collection
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      London, The Stables Gallery, Orleans House, Contemporary British Painting Prize, August 25 – October 22, 2017, p. 18 (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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Lotus Land

signed twice "JADÉ'S" on the stretcher; further signed, titled and dated ““Lotus Land” Jan 2017 Jadé Fadojutimi Jadé Fadojutimi” on the reverse
acrylic and oil on canvas
47 1/2 x 59 in. (120.7 x 149.9 cm)
Painted in 2017.

Full Cataloguing

Estimate
$40,000 - 60,000 

Sold for $378,000

Contact Specialist

Amanda Lo Iacono
Head of Auctions
New York
+1 212 940 1278

[email protected] 


 

20th c. & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

New York Auction 7 December 2020