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  • “For a painting to be good, in my opinion, it has to have three different levels. Any more than that it becomes a pile of junk, and any less than that, it is just like a one-liner.” 
    — Jamian Juliano-Villani


    Known for her acid-bright, hypnotic conglomerations of borrowed images, Italian artist Jamian Juliano-Villani pulls inspiration from her vast digital library of images she has collected since high school, ranging from 70s-era fashion magazines to illustrated human anatomy encyclopaedias; from popular commercial advertisements to obscure European comic art. Working with a projector, Juliano-Villani is able to create disparate layers within her compositions that defy easy interpretation, delicately balancing psychological depth and light humour.  


    Juliano-Villani carefully considers every image she uses with a profound respect for the source. These various references act as building blocks for Juliano-Villani’s paintings, culminating into visually bizarre and darkly humorous works. The selection process is long yet serendipitous; as the artist explains: ‘When I’m working, I have probably, like, thirty images that, in a month or two months, I’ll keep on coming back to… But, they never look like they’re supposed to be together. That’s when s..t gets good. That’s when the painting can change from “an image-based narrative” into something else.’ i




    The artist discusses her practice in her Brooklyn Studio, 2015

    Video Courtesy of Art21



    Clear Cough from Your Schedule


    Simultaneously whimsical and nonsensical, irrational and spontaneous, Clear Cough from Your Schedule pulls together seemingly unrelated imagery into an eccentric collage that is distinctive of the artist’s practice. An oval-shaped, giant stone table dominates the top of the frame, with its Roman style legs standing underneath, carved with merlion-like creatures with double faces, baring their sharp teeth and entwined together at their tails. Beneath the arch of the table, a mischievous fox accidently breaks into the picture like a ‘loud cough’, evident from its embarrassed expression.



    A picture containing colorful, fabric

Description automatically generated


    Jamian Juliano-Villani, Wavy Fox, 2013
    Courtesy the artist and JTT, New York



    Commenting on an earlier painting in 2013 that also depicts a cartoon fox as the protagonist, Juliano-Villani had explained that the fox is actually representative of the artist herself: ‘The one painting I did with the wavy fox in that cage, that’s f…ing me, you know!? That’s how I felt. I didn’t realise it then. I think they’re all extensions of me or self-portraits in some way – or at least an attitude that I have. Those are things you can’t necessarily put into words.’ ii In the current example, the fox knocks over a red Lego man and breaks it into many pieces upon impact, sending its zip-lock wrapped, bright yellow head into mid-air. These along with a floating silver spoon are all everyday objects ubiquitous to modern daily life and included possibly as visual references to one’s busy daily ‘schedule’, positioning the fox as a symbol of the artist herself, stumbling along in the messiness that is life, breaking free from boundaries and restraints.  


     “The reason why I used cartoons a lot of the times is because I like that they’re a kind of populist way of communicating. Because painting is not populist at all, you know? I kind of like that idea.” 
    — Jamian Juliano-Villani


    Hyper-realistic Surreal


    Jamian Juliano-Villani’s paintings are unequivocally absurd. From a lizard shaped human-bacon hybrid crawling on the bathroom floor to a tomato lying in a hammock amongst voluptuous foliage, works by Juliano-Villani inherent the mysterious visual lexicon of Surrealism, whilst juxtaposing realities and activating the unconscious. As one of the most notable figures of the Surrealist movement, Salvador Dalí’s dreamlike compositions demonstrate his undying interest in the concept of the unconsciousness devised by Sigmund Freud. In his most famous work, The Persistence of Memory (in the collection of Museum of Modern Art, New York), several clocks are depicted melting in a desert setting with the ocean appearing below the horizon. Similar to Dalí, Juliano-Villani’s works also capture a magical and peculiar ambience, creating dreamscapes that peer into the unconscious mind with an underlying sense of self-reflection.




    Left: Salvador Dalí, The Persistence of Memory, 1931

    Collection of The Museum of Modern Art, New York
    © 2021 Salvador Dalí, Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

    Right: Jamian Juliano-Villani, Boar’s Head, a Gateway, my Pinecone, 2016

    Collection of The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York



    Unlike Dalí’s paintings that are deeply informed by classical technique, Jamian Juliano-Villani’s aforementioned scrapbooking technique along with an airbrush approach is characteristically contemporary, though its overall effect remains undoubtedly surreal. As a technique more commonly used for repairing cars and signs in storefront windows, airbrushing connects Juliano-Villani’s work with popular street culture. This association is reinforced by the visual references that populate her works, each ‘rub[ing] up against others culled from altogether different times, places, and sensibilities. Within one painting, the references can span generations and decades.’ iii




    Detail of the present work


    In works such as Clear Cough from Your Schedule, what starts as absurd ideas evolve into hyper-realistic extensions of our reality. Many of Juliano-Villani’s pieces germinate from quickly noted bullet points that explode into an overstuffed, over-saturated image. Altered to suit her unique aesthetic, the artist renders her ideas just as abstractly as they are, yet she is clearly playing with inspirations that are inherent to daily human life. Extracted directly from a myriad of sources, these visual cues are crammed together under a new context, emerging as uniquely modern images that transforms the artist’s reverie into a concrete state. 


     “I make my paintings out of necessity, and like using the things around me to communicate what I need to, because I’m really bad at articulating how I feel, vocally. The paintings do that for me.” 
    — Jamian Juliano-Villani

    Collector’s Digest


    Born in 1987 in Newark, New Jersey, Jamian Juliano-Villani graduated from Rutgers University in 2013, forfeiting the chance to further her studies with a Master’s Degree and opting instead to learn by working as a studio assistant to artists Erik Parker and Dana Schutz.


    Juliano-Villani held her first seminal museum exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit in 2015. Since then, the artist had also exhibited internationally at Kunsthall Stavanger (2021); JTT Gallery, New York (2020); Massimo De Carlo, London (2019); Studio Voltaire, London (2016), Tanya Leighton Gallery, Berlin (2015),  amongst others. Her work has recently been included group shows at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Jewish Museum, MoMA PS1 and the Brooklyn Museum, the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, Kunsthal Rotterdam and the MAXXI Museum in Rome. The current work was included as part of the Animality exhibition at Marian Goodman London in 2016.


    Earlier in 2021, Juliano-Villani opened her own gallery in New York City called O’Flaherty’s. The artist’s latest solo exhibition, Steak Wars, also just closed at the Pond Society in Shanghai (11 September to 30 October 2021), which marked the artist’s debut in China.



    i Jamian Juliano-Villani, quoted in ‘Jamian Juliano-Villani's Painting Compulsion | Art21 "New York Close Up"’, Art 21, 1 July 2015, online

    ii ibid.

    iii Laura Phipps and Elisabeth Sherman, ‘Flatlands: On Unstable Ground’, Whitney Museum of American Art, online


    • Provenance

      Massimo de Carlo, London
      Private Collection, Europe
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      London, Marian Goodman Gallery, Animality, 3 November - 17 December 2016, p. 88 (illustrated)


Clear Cough from Your Schedule

signed and dated 'JAMIAN JULIANO-VILLANI 2016' on the overlap
acrylic on canvas
96.5 x 111.8 cm. (38 x 44 in.)
Painted in 2016.

Full Cataloguing

HK$200,000 - 400,000 

Sold for HK$781,200

Contact Specialist

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

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

Hong Kong Auction 30 November 2021