Jadé Fadojutimi - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Friday, October 15, 2021 | Phillips

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  • 'I think of my art as a diary of my life, and my studio as a diary of my childhood.' —Jadé Fadojutimi 

    At just twenty-eight years old, British painter Jadé Fadojutimi is the youngest artist to be included in Tate’s permanent collection, her vividly realised large-scale compositions drawing international interest and acclaim. Vibrating with explosive colour and a muscular sense of line, Fadojutimi’s works shift restlessly between abstraction and figuration, generating unique ‘emotional landscapes’ that are as absorbing as they are beautiful. Working intuitively through formal and emotional issues that arise in her rapid execution of a work, Fadojutimi places an investigation of identity, her immediate environment, and the complexities of lived experience at the heart of her practice: as the artist describes of her paintings, through ‘form, colour, or texture, or pattern […] they become spaces for me to exist’.i  


    Jadé Fadojutimi standing in front of her painting I Present Your Royal Highness installed at Tate Britain. 


    Windows to the Soul 


    As a transparent barrier that at once physically separates but visually blends inside and outside, windows are particularly powerful symbolic devices for Fadojutimi. Like seeing your own reflection superimposed on the scene beyond the windowpane, the artist conceptualises of her paintings like windows, as ‘reflections of myself and the objects I surround myself with’.ii Existing in a delicate symbiosis, Fadojutimi sees her paintings and her sense of self as irrevocably intwined and mutually evolving. Exploring this fruitfully across her paintings, Fadojutimi also uses writing to expand on her relationship to paint and painting, writing in ‘Window’: 

    'All I can do is give myself to this overwhelming presence called the window, standing whilst my knees shatter under its potent aura.' —Jadé Fadojutimi 

    Lit from within by a distinctive, shifting, pearlescent light, forms emerge and recede across Myths of Pleasure, compounding this sense of doubled vision animating the painting’s surface. We might catch fleeting glimpses of plant forms, or the curve of a chair as they briefly coalesce, only to dissolve away out of sight once more. As always in Fadojjutimi’s work, this sensation captured in the present work of catching a glimpse of something outside also dramatises a looking in, a superimposition of one upon the other. 


    Jadé Fadojutimi stages a studio visit ahead of the Liverpool Biennale, March 2021 


    Colour and Identity 

    'The easiest way to talk about myself and my life is through colour' —Jadé Fadojutimi

    Executed in 2017, the year that Fadojutimi graduated from the Royal College, Myths of Pleasure is a virtuoso expression of this young artist’s technical accomplishment and intuitive approach to rhythm and colour. Its palette of deep, blood-reds, mossy splashes of green, and threads of shocking violet pulse with an unparalleled energy, giving weight to Fadojutimi’s assertion that ‘identity can be translated through colour’.iii  


    Detail of the present work

    Spatially and emotionally complex, knotted lines tangle together and unravel across the composition. Known to work in concentrated bursts of expulsive energy late into the night, Fadojutimi pours the immediate, overlaid sensations of a place, a person, a memory onto her canvases, as Jennifer Higgie describes:  '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.' —Jennifer Higgie


    Legacies of Abstract Expressionism 


    Willelm de Kooning, Woman I, 1950-52, Museum of Modern Art, New York 
    Bridgeman Images © The Willem de Kooning Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York and DACS, London 2021

    In their raw physicality, phenomenal energy, and strong, gestural qualities, Fadojutimi’s works have elicited favourable comparison to the gestural abstraction of post-war American painters Willelm de Kooning, Joan Mitchell, and Lee Krasner. Combining sensual, rounded forms with sharper, jagged elements, Myths of Pleasure formally recalls Willem de Kooning’s figurative Woman series, sharing in their sense of violent immediacy and investigative interest in memory and sensation. 


    Thinning her paints with the quick-drying agent Liquin which give her works their unique sheen, Fadojutimi is also able to move her paint quickly and lightly across the canvas, building up layers of colour in rhythmic, building crescendos. Energised by its vibrant palette and looping gestural brushstrokes Myths of Pleasure communicates the same intoxicating vitality as Lee Krasner’s most dramatic compositions. 


    Lee Krasner, Combat, 1965, National Gallery of Victoria.Bridgeman Images © The Pollock-Krasner Foundation ARS, NY and DACS, London 2021

    Like Fadojutimi, Krasner described herself as swinging between the lyric and the dramatic as she worked, both artists centralising the relationship between their bodies and paint as they move the pigments across the cannvas. Krasner’s late, large-scale canvases in particular find a contemporary descendent in Fadojutimi’s virtuoso painterly perfomances. Informed by wide-ranging cultural influences including film soundtracks, video games, fashion, and Japanese animie, the frenetic visual fields generated in Fadojutimi’s works explode with brilliant colour and relentles energy – the stuff of life itself. 


    Katy Hessel and Jadé Fadojutimi discuss Lee Krasner’s painting ahead of the 2019 Lee Krasner: Living Colour exhibiton at the Baribican. 


    Collector's Digest: 


    •    A graduate of the Slade School and Royal College of Art, London, Fadojutimi’s work is included in major international collections including Tate, Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, Walker Art Centre, Baltimore Museum of Art and the Hepworth, Wakefield. 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. 


    •    After her first institutional show at Peer, London in 2019, Fadojutimi has gone on to present work in a series of key locations. Upcoming exhibitions include her American institutional debut opening at the Miami Institute for Contemporary Art in November and the Taka Ishii Gallery in Tokyo later this year, with shows at the Hepworth Wakefield and the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Turin to follow next year. 


    •    Presented at Phillips Hong Kong for auction earlier this year, Fadojutimi’s Concealment: An Essential Generated by Lack of Shade nearly doubled the artist’s previous auction record. 

    i Jadé Fadojutimi Tate short, 2020, online
    ii Jadé Fadojutimi Tate short, 2020, online
    iii Jadé Fadojutimi in interview with Isabella Rose Celeste, ‘Painting the Indescribable: Jadé Fadojtimi’, Love Magazine, online

    • Provenance

      Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, London
      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.

      View More Works


Myths of Pleasure

signed, titled and dated 'Jadé Fadojutimi Nov '17 'Myths of Pleasure'' on the reverse
oil on canvas
140.5 x 140.5 cm (55 3/8 x 55 3/8 in.)
Painted in 2017.

Full Cataloguing

£80,000 - 120,000 

Sold for £1,172,000

Contact Specialist

Kate Bryan
Specialist, Head of Evening Sale

+44 7391 402741


Olivia Thornton
Head of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Europe

+44 20 7318 4099

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London Auction 15 October 2021