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She Squalls

She Squalls
signed twice, titled and dated ‘’She Squalls’ Jadé Fadojutimi Sept ‘18’ (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
78 7⁄8 x 63 in. (200.4 x 160.2 cm.)
Painted in 2018.
Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne
Acquired from the above by the present owner
Cologne, Galerie Gisela Capitain, Jadé Fadojutimi: She Squalls, January-February 2019, n.p., cat. no. 5 (illustrated).

Brought to you by

Ana Maria Celis
Ana Maria Celis Head of Department

Lot Essay

A key work in Jadé Fadojutimi’s oeuvre, She Squalls (2018) lent its name to the artist’s acclaimed first solo show with Galerie Gisela Capitain in Köln, and marks a central moment in her development as one of the most exciting young artists working today. A squall is a storm, a moment of sudden and strong wind that changes one’s course, just as the present canvas changed the course of the Fadojutimi’s career and allowed her to break out with renewed potency and spontaneity. With its passionate and energetic marks, She Squalls is a vision of balletic movement and a sublime landscape that is essential to understanding Fadojutimi’s innovative career that has only grown in international recognition. A large canvas at more than six-and-a-half feet by five feet, She Squalls has a commanding presence that also contains all the intimacy of a textile. Inspired by a sojourn in Kyoto, Fadojutimi incorporates numerous references to create paintings that are global in scope. She has mounted a solo show at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami (2021), with additional exhibitions forthcoming at the Hepworth Wakefield (2022) and the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Torino (2023). Her work is held in important public collections like the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, the Tate, London, and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.

Like the ardent marks of Jackson Pollock, Cy Twombly, Amy Sillman, or Julie Mehretu, She Squalls pulsates with vitality, a beautiful storm watched from a peaceful shore. A grouping of marks at the center build upon each other to manifest a horizon line, asking us to look into the painting as we would an open window. Bolts of orange dart though the canvas like lightning, while pink, black, and blue vibrate around it, creating a still life of earthy hues like a scene by Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin. Fadojutimi makes her skilled presence known with bold strokes and unites herself with the canvas. The “she” of the title could be the artist herself. It makes sense that “rising star Jadé Fadojutimi’s gestural paintings” are widely praised as “demonstrating an oscillation between figuration and abstraction representative of our polyrhythmic identities” (A. Hunt, “Across the Universe: Andrew Hunt on the Eleventh Liverpool Biennial, Artforum, June 17, 2021). She Squalls is not only nautical, but also musical. It is a symphony of unexpected colors and forms coming together to form a spontaneous composition.

In its references to the artist herself and possibilities for connection within difference, She Squalls is an act of compassion that gifts the painting and the artist their own interrelated autonomies. As Fadojutimi has noticed of her work, “When I change, the work changes. We hold each other up. I think the biggest difference I notice is in myself. Having conversations around my work means I have been having more conversations around myself” (J. Fadojutimi, quoted in T. Moldan, “Jadé Fadojutimi: ‘When I change, the work changes,’” Ocula, November 24, 2021). Painting for Fadojutimi is therefore an act of self-nourishment, and she extends that relationship to the viewer, who is gracefully equipped to ride the rough tides.

She Squalls is undoubtedly a meaningful inflection point in a lauded career that will continue to shape how we think about painting and identity. With its assured brushstrokes and evocative abstract imagery, the present canvas advances a signature style for Fadojutimi that is unique and revelatory. She Squalls is a hallmark in Fadojutimi’s practice that sets the stage for what is to come. With major solo exhibitions on the horizon, she is poised to reshape contemporary art, traversing its wild seas with skill and foresight.

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