Step to Enchantment, 2020
Oil on canvas
88 x 148 inches (223.5 x 375.9 cm)
Justin Caguiat’s numinous, dreamlike paintings depict realms beyond the visible. Figures and other lifeforms stir and recede into aqueous grounds of patterned color, which appear to overspill the bounds of unstretched sheets of linen or canvas. His work’s layered atmospherics reflect the Symbolist inheritance of fin-de-siècle eccentrics like Odilon Redon, who also turned to sources of enchantment and mystery in an era of rampant capitalism. Though unmistakably contemporary, Caguiat’s paintings draw on a mix of aesthetic traditions, from Vuillard’s wallpapered interiors to the Vienna School’s jewel-box modernism, to the flattened forms of Japanese woodblock prints, mosaics and Manga imagery. Ornate but never ornamental, his work creates its own reality, through inner landscapes that drift between the observed and the imagined.
Justin Caguiat (b. 1989, Tokyo) lives and works between New York and Oakland, California. His first solo presentation at Greene Naftali will take place in September 2022. Recent solo exhibitions include The Warehouse, Dallas (2022); Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo (2021); Modern Art, London (2020); and 15 Orient, New York (2018). Significant group shows include Modern Art, London (2021); Lomex, New York hosted by Arcadia Missa, London (2020); and Clima, Milan (2019). Caguiat is a published poet and has participated in various readings and performances, including in 2017 at the Kunsthalle Zurich, Switzerland.