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Pharaoh Kakudji - Shake the Fog - Exhibitions - Simchowitz Gallery

Simchowitz Gallery is pleased to present Shake the Fog by Paris and New York-based artist Pharoah Kakudji. The exhibition will run November 6-27, 2021. The artist works primarily with material culled from the street, using found publicity posters as canvases that he paints over with references that range from his quotidian surroundings to abstract or haunting dreams. Kakudji was born in Paris and grew up both there and in the South of France, moving to New York right before the pandemic began in 2019. The works in this exhibition date from his time in the city beginning in early 2020, and represent a mindset he’s assumed since moving to the United States.

This exhibition hones in on what Kakudji sees and feels, wholly personal forays into his thought processes and perspectives. The artist appears often in his own works, self-portraits deep in thought or working through a new personal challenge. Friends, family, and ethereal women rendered in yellow hues crop up, snapshots from his memory and imagination. Sleepless (2021) depicts a late night in Paris with friends, and the joy of the afterparty with the people he cares about most. His friends’ personalities and sleepy, joyous expressions are on immediate display—one even appears to wear two faces, one as a mask atop her head, embodying multiple and divergent feelings at once. Another striking work, 13 Ludlow St (2021), references an uncomfortable encounter with roommates during an apartment sublet. Head down and shirtless, the artist appears to grow wings, to try to learn how to fly, or to transport himself beyond this painful experience. In the background, a friend seated on the floor looks up at him.

The artist sees these works as ripped illustrations from a book, pieces of a larger and more complex narrative. The wheat pasted graphics lend their own layer, bits or pieces of ripped up commercial campaign. Like a puzzle piece or fragment from a longer story, these works come together as compelling and raw moments in one young person’s life.

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