Jamian Juliano-Villani - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in association with Yongle Hong Kong Tuesday, November 29, 2022 | Phillips

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  • “This ones supposed to be a fox falling in love with a feather that looks like himself.” 
    — Jamian Juliano-Villani
    Painted in 2014 and unveiled at Loyal Gallery exhibition in Stockholm later that year, A Younger, Smaller Flame encapsulates the uncanny visual realm of Italian American artist Jamian Juliano-Villani that has garnered notable acclaim in recent years.


    Backgrounded by acid-blue sky, an ambiguous creature leaps over wooden fence decorated by a mishmash of florals. With orange-black colouring and a large bushy tail that also resembles the swooping stroke of a paintbrush, the peculiar being draws comparisons to a mischievous red fox. An animal that occasionally features in the artist’s psychedelic dreamscapes, Juliano-Villani manipulates the ‘generic brand version’ of a cartoon fox as if incorporating ‘random error or glitch by chance’ to evoke a response of ‘I know what this is but I’m not quite sure’. As she explains: ‘something’s uncomfortable about it but you can’t stop looking at it in a way. So I’m thinking about that, something slightly off or misspelled so it’s almost like a typo.’ 


    The present work exhibited at Stockholm, Loyal Gallery, Border Food, 12 April - 16 May 2014

    The present work exhibited at Stockholm, Loyal Gallery, Border Food, 12 April - 16 May 2014

    When commenting on a painting created a year prior to A Younger, Smaller Flame that also features a fox protagonist, Juliano-Villani explained the creature 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.’ i


    At the same time, however, the curvature and hue of the subject’s depiction in the present work is instantly comparable to the feather that floats beneath, indicating that it is the ‘younger, smaller flame’ in question. With ‘flame’ being slang for ‘one’s love interest’, when the composition is regarded together with the work’s title, the work is infused with both unresolved narrative and banal humour – both of which are traits that have helped define Juliano-Villani’s unique practice.

    “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

    To create her surreal paintings that are packed with visual reference, Juliano-Villani turns to her vast bank of television stills, stock photos, fragments of historical artworks, memes, and personal photography archive. Backed by the light of her projector in her Brooklyn studio, she shines images onto her canvas, flicking between options before tracing down the selected images in a manner she has likened to ‘drunk Photoshop’. Finalising her layered collages through brush and airbrush techniques, the resulting pictures stem from the very recesses of the artist’s psyche, pushing the envelope of the conventional subconscious preconception that everything should make logical sense.



    The artist discusses her practice in her Brooklyn Studio, 2015
    Video Courtesy of Art21


    Highly praised as ‘one of the art world’s most magnetic talents’, Juliano-Villani has been honoured with numerous exhibitions since her first museum solo show at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit in 2015. More recently, the artist has presented solo exhibitions at the Pond Society in Shanghai, marking Juliano-Villani’s debut in China (2021); Kunsthall Stavanger (2021); JTT Gallery, New York (2020); and Massimo De Carlo, London (2019). In 2021, Juliano‐Villani opened her own gallery in New York City called O’Flaherty’s.


    Juliano-Villani’s work is included in the collections of the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and Whitney Museum of American Art; New York.

    • Provenance

      Loyal Gallery, Stockholm
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      Stockholm, Loyal Gallery, Border Food, 12 April - 16 May 2014


A Younger, Smaller Flame

signed and dated '2014 JAMIAN JULIANO-VILLANI' on the stretcher
acrylic on canvas
76.2 x 91.4 cm. (30 x 35 7/8 in.)
Painted in 2014.

Full Cataloguing

HK$300,000 - 500,000 

Contact Specialist

Danielle So
Specialist, Head of Day Sale
+852 2318 2027

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in association with Yongle

Hong Kong Auction 30 November 2022