Jamian Juliano-Villani - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale London Wednesday, June 29, 2022 | Phillips

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  • 'My paintings are meant to function like TV, in a way. The viewer is supposed to become passive. Instead of alluding or whispering, like a lot of art does, this is art that tells you what’s up. It kind of does the work for you, like TV does.' —Jamian Juliano-VillaniAcclaimed for her montaged psychedelic dreamscapes, Jamian Juliano-Villani adopts visual culture, ephemera and borrowed materials, combining them together in her vivid painted canvases. Positioning her work as accessible and democratic in the manner of Pop art, Juliano-Villani’s surreal works are simultaneously familiar and unusual.

    Juliano-Villani’s library of images is meticulously chosen and curated according to her visceral and gut feelings, as the artist explains; ‘When I’m working, I have probably 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 shit gets good. That’s when the painting can change from “an image-based narrative” into something else.’i Juliano-Villani uses a projector as a method to facilitate her idiosyncratic scrapbook-like compositions. With humour and psychological complexity the artist draws together pictures from a vast array of recognisable sources such as internet memes and catalogue images as well as obscure Finnish advertisements and 20th Century British animations.

    Seeking to democratise her painting, the artist’s favoured source material are cartoons, a form of popular communication that she maintains can appeal to the masses above painting; explaining that ‘I just trying to use things that my little brother gets, and the Verizon guy who comes to my studio gets’.ii Alongside her universal inspirational sources, Juliano-Villani employs acrylic paint and an airbrush, providing her canvas with a polished and seamless commercial surface, a medium often used for large scale communication. 


    Jamian Juliano-Villani Gets to Work | Art21 ‘New York Close Up’


    Swimming in hallucinogenic colour and visual noise, Juliano-Villani’s Apparition of Master is an uncanny imagining, recognisable yet absurd.  Juliano-Villani overlays visibly disparate motifs to craft her eccentric narrative. Set on a beach at sunset, an illuminated bed, over which hovers an almost holographic image of a burning dog, is watched by cartoon dog spectators. A pile of teetering stools and a Roman-style vase are set in the foreground at the right of the composition. The central motif of the dog is taken from the Austrian artist Christian Ludwig Attersee’s 1971 work, Zungenschmuck für eine Schäferhündin (Tongue Jewellery for a German Shepherd), which she was attracted to because of its postmodern angle. Expressing her preference for using cartoons or animal surrogates in place of people, Juliano-Villani’s notes ‘I don’t like painting people that much…I use foxes, a lot of dogs, they induce sympathy for one reason even like an alien, it’s a placeholder, like the relationship to the creature is different. There’s a dominance, a sympathy and it’s cartoony”iii. While individually, the chosen motifs are recognisable and relatable, even inducing pathos through our familiar affection with these cartoon characters, the overall effect of the composition transitions us to another world, reminiscent of a hallucinogenic fever dream.


    Christian Ludwig Attersee, Zungenschmuck für eine Schäferhündin, 1971. Artwork: © Christian Ludwig Attersee / DACS 2022
    Christian Ludwig Attersee, Zungenschmuck für eine Schäferhündin, 1971. Artwork: © Christian Ludwig Attersee / DACS 2022

    Last year, Juliano-Villani opened her own gallery in New York City called O’Flaherty’s, which whilst functioning as a commercial gallery, is also something of a performance in disguise. Juliano-Villani has been widely celebrated with solo exhibitions at Kunsthall Stavanger (2021); JTT Gallery, New York (2020); Massimo De Carlo, London (2019); Studio Voltaire, London (2016) and Tanya Leighton Gallery, Berlin and Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (2015). 


    i Jamian Juliano-Villani, quoted in ‘Jamian Juliano-Villani's Painting Compulsion | Art21 "New York Close Up,"’ Art 21, 1 July 2015, online
    ii Andrew Russeth, ‘Jamian Juliano-Villani Talks Painting,’ ARTnews, 22 August 2014, online
    iii Alex Bennett, ‘Portrait Jamian Juliano-Villani,’ Novembre Magazine, March 2017, online

    • Condition Report

    • Description

      View our Conditions of Sale.

    • Provenance

      Tanya Leighton, Berlin
      Private Collection
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Literature

      Phaidon, eds., Vitamin P3: New Perspectives in Painting, 2016, no. 5, p. 143 (illustrated)
      'Jamian Juliano-Villani: Why I Paint', Phaidon, 5 October 2016, online (illustrated)
      'Jamian Juliano-Villani Responds', ARTnews, 26 May 2015, online (illustrated)
      Howard Halle and Heather Corcoran, 'See artist Jamian Juliano Villani's beautifully strange paintings', TimeOut, 15 June 2015, online (illustrated)


Lot offered with No Reserve

Apparition of Master

acrylic on canvas
76.2 x 101.6 cm (30 x 40 in.)
Painted in 2015.

Full Cataloguing

£30,000 - 50,000 • ‡

Place Advance Bid
Contact Specialist

Simon Tovey

Specialist, Associate Director, Head of Day Sale, 20th Century & Contemporary Art
+44 20 7318 4084

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20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

London Auction 29 June 2022