Justin Caguiat at Modern Art

Artist: Justin Caguiat

Exhibition title: Permutation City 1999

Venue: Modern Art, London, UK

Date: June 25 – August 8, 2020

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Modern Art, London

Note: Full press release is available here

Modern Art is pleased to announce an exhibition of new paintings by Justin Caguiat titled ‘Permutation City 1999’. This is his first solo exhibition with the gallery.

In Caguiat’s large-scale paintings on unstretched canvas or linen displayed in wooden frames, layers of oil and sometimes gouache, pastel and acrylic synthesise into highly detailed patterns which fill and spill out beyond imperfect edges. Now and then, swathes of monochrome washes emanate like filters or planes of light across the surface. From this, landscapes and otherworldly scenes materialise, drifting in and out of legibility, or consciousness.

These are liminal paintings, both corporeal and cryptic. They resist an instantaneous reading, demanding time to decipher, and to search for compositional footholds within their archaic atmosphere.

Caguiat’s idiosyncratic style is informed by varied fields including science fiction literature, the baroque-folk hybrid aesthetic of early Filipino Catholic Santos, 60s psychedelia, les Nabis, Ukiyo-E, urban graphic art and the historical legacy of Manga. In scale and format they can be read like murals and landscapes, and while not narrative, have a reverential or devotional purpose akin to a fresco.

Though suggestive of Romanticism, the paintings are not illusionistic, demonstrating and not concealing their evolution through layers. The transposition of paint – ideas, information, figures and ornament – is fragmented, like the dissolution of memory.

A text of the same title written by the artist accompanies the exhibition.

Justin Caguiat was born in 1989 in Tokyo, Japan. He lives and works in New York City. In 2018 he had a solo exhibition at 15 Orient, New York and his work has been included in group shows at galleries and project spaces throughout North America, in Italy and Switzerland. He has curated exhibitions with themanilainstitute.org and other collectives and is a published poet having participated in readings and performances including in 2017 at the Kunsthalle Zürich, Switzerland.