Tunji Adeniyi-Jones Paired with Bloomsbury Set Artist Duncan Grant for His First Solo Posthumous Exhibition

Tunji Adeniyi-Jones Paired with Duncan Grant for Exhibition-Omenka Online
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From 8 September 2021 to 13 March 2022, British-Nigerian painter Tunji Adeniyi-Jones will hold his first solo show in the UK at Charleston, the Sussex farmhouse home and studio of the Bloomsbury set artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant.

The exhibition comprising entirely of new works accompanies the recreation of Grant’s first solo exhibition from 1920, which opened at the Paterson-Carfax Gallery on Old Bond Street in London, and includes 30 paintings, some of which have never been seen before—the first one-man show of Grant’s work since he died in 1978.

Parallels have been drawn between Grant’s and Adeniyi-Jones’s vivid colour palettes and their dynamic, expressive treatment of the body. Adeniyi-Jones explains: “The figures in my work are expressions of my identity and there is something very rewarding about using the body as a vehicle for storytelling. This is also something I really admire and appreciate about Duncan Grant’s work, his exploration and focus on the physical form.”

However, Adeniyi-Jones’s take on Modernism is a distinctly West African one. His colour palette is influenced by the oranges, yellows, scarlets and fuchsias that appear in Dutch batik designs found in West Africa, while his powerful, sinewy figures tackle the perception of the black body within Western painting, particularly its emphasis on physicality.

According to Susan May, White Cube’s global artistic director, staff at the gallery first came across Adeniyi-Jones’s work in 2017, having seen his work in New York. “We have followed the development of his practice ever since,” she says. “The evolution of his painterly vocabulary, with increasingly sophisticated compositions and palette, point to an artist who is intent on expanding the language of his work.”

Conversations began with the gallery last year while Adeniyi-Jones was still living in London. He has since moved to the US, where his paintings continue to be shaped by “travel, movement and cultural hybridity”, according to the artist who is also represented by Morán Morán in Los Angeles.

White Cube will hold its first exhibition of Adeniyi-Jones’s work in Bermondsey in November, which will feature a suite of new paintings and works on paper.

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