Jadé Fadojutimi’s Trailblazing Approach to Abstraction Shines in Her First Solo Museum Show

Nicole Martinez
Dec 2, 2021 7:14PM

Jadé Fadojutimi, installation view of “Yet, Another Pathetic Fallacy” at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, 2021. Photo by Chris Carter. Courtesy of Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami.

Jadé Fadojutimi dreams in color. A saturated palette of cerulean blue, jungle greens, and pastel lavenders flourish among splashes of rich reds and pinks that spring from her looming abstract canvases. In an interview with British Vogue, Fadojutimi explained how she sees color as a “synesthesia of sorts” that allows us to explore mutable and nuanced identities.

“I’ve been thinking about a lot of what it means to talk about identity, or question it,” she said. “We are all colours that are constantly fluctuating, we change every day, we change every minute, and it was a wonderful thing to think about in terms of why these paintings feel so different to me all the time, because I am constantly changing, and the colours I am experiencing are constantly changing.”

Fadojutimi’s ever-changing moods and inspirations are on full display at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, where the artist’s first museum survey, “Yet, Another Pathetic Fallacy,” is currently on view. Consisting of 12 paintings that were commissioned specifically for the show—all created in 2021—the exhibition opened during Miami Art Week, allowing a global audience of art enthusiasts to immerse themselves in the work of this promising young artist. The exhibition also gives the museum an opportunity to create some much needed scholarship around Fadojutimi’s work.

“[Fadojutimi’s work] has garnered widespread recognition and popularity—the paintings are so generous and open and distinctive,” said ICA Miami artistic director and exhibition co-curator Alex Gartenfeld. “I think audiences are also drawn to the majestic color and line and sense of possibility.” He went on to explain that it is the museum’s role to give the work structure. “We work with Jadé to build the language around the work,” he continued. “We are actively training ourselves to look critically at what’s so compelling about these images.”

Jadé Fadojutimi, A Whisper of a Decadent Twilight, 2021. Courtesy of the artist Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, London; Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne; and Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo.


At just 27 years old, Fadojutimi is one of the most exciting young artists to emerge in recent years. Inspired by the vibrancy of Japanese fashion and anime culture—which manifests itself mostly in an abundance of color and freneticism—Fadojutimi’s works are notable for their size, scale, and dancelike use of gesture. She has been quickly gaining institutional success since her work was acquired by the Tate in London in 2019, making her the youngest artist in the storied museum’s collection. Gartenfeld makes it a point to note that the ICA Miami was the first museum to acquire her work, purchasing A point to pointlessness (2019) a mere four months before the Tate followed suit. Fadojutimi was featured in The Artsy Vanguard 2020.

Her show at the ICA Miami leaves little room for doubt about the artist’s trailblazing approach to abstraction. In the making since 2019, the canvases on view were largely made during COVID-19 lockdowns, with many created from her home studio in London. According to Gartenfeld, this isolation drove Fadojutimi to experiment with figuration, and many of the works within “Yet, Another Pathetic Fallacy” lean heavily into form. He points to An Unforgettable Psychosis, with its impressionistic color palette, as a sign that the artist went further toward the figurative in many of these canvases than in prior works.

“While these are abstract paintings, there is a live and dynamic tension with figuration that is the central pull of the work,” Gartenfeld said. “As a landscape, the works are windows into Jadé’s rich internal worlds.” While the works were being installed, Gartenfeld asked Fadojutimi why the paintings in this body of work were so figurative. “I had to imagine traveling somewhere,” the artist replied. “I’d make it myself because I couldn’t go anywhere.”

Jadé Fadojutimi, installation view of “Yet, Another Pathetic Fallacy” at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, 2021. Photo by Chris Carter. Courtesy of Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami.

Most of the works see Fadojutimi’s incredible use of color. Paintings like The Woven Warped Garden of Ponder create a striking illusion with the use of iridescent paint, while Hope features thick bursts of oil bar streaks laid over furious scrawls. There are, however, several works that see the artist experiment with toning color down. The Itch, for example, hides neon pink and fluorescent yellow under a milky white layer, suggesting a probe into Fadojutimi’s inner psyche and a decision to hide the radiant hues that lie beneath.

“She isn’t drawing from culture and translating it into painting,” noted Gean Moreno, the exhibition’s co-curator. “It’s almost like it works backwards instead.” With color being her main subject of study, Fadojutimi has free range to paint whatever she likes. Her gestures range from frantic, knotted marks seen throughout paintings, like That night I looked upon the sky and a patterned theory of revelation consumed me, to oval shapes rendered mobile as they develop throughout the canvas, like in Hope. The Daily (hip)Fractals(po) of a Dreamscape is likely the most color-saturated work, with primary hues dominating the canvas, built over a layered jumble of markings underneath.

As crowds will surely gather to admire Fadojutimi’s work over the coming weeks, savvy insiders would do well to continue keeping a close eye on Fadojutimi’s still-blossoming visual vocabulary and career trajectory. Gartenfeld is sure that this young visionary will hold an important place in the canon as abstract painting continues to evolve.

“Jadé is without question one of the most inventive artists working with abstraction today,” the curator concluded decisively.

Nicole Martinez