Kayode Ojo: EDEN
52 Walker is pleased to announce its ninth exhibition, EDEN, featuring the work of New York–based artist Kayode Ojo. Composed of ready-made items of leisure, luxury, and revelry, Ojo’s sleek sculptures move between the related visual languages of delicate minimalism and glittering opulence, foregrounding the transformative power of the material object and its ability to transport its owner through dimensions of time, place, and social status.
Replete with sequins, chrome finishes, and transparent and reflective surfaces, the works on view possess a slick and scopophilic sense of drama, as if aware of their own glittering curves and edges. A fractal-like sculpture composed of interlocking chandeliers cascades from the ceiling, creating a dazzling and shifty optical illusion that might be either a self-replicating microorganism or a macrocosmic detonation of light and glass. Shimmering ladders made from black and white clarinets dangle from the ceiling, an autobiographical nod to the artist’s musical upbringing as well as a playful celebration of impractical beauty. A suite of freestanding sculptures fashioned from luxuriant apparel and accouterments beckon toward the human body in both scale and material. Together, these works imbue the gallery with the flash and thrill of a formal gathering, turning the space into an open-ended sanctuary that exists somewhere between a home, a fête, and a fleeting respite from the rest of the world.
Ojo’s work examines the intricacies of personal and popular nostalgia by archiving the physical traces of the body’s most tantalizing and precious artifacts. Sourcing his materials from fast-fashion websites and online shopping hubs, the artist weaves the familiar cadences of searching, scrolling, purchasing, and receiving into his nimble artistic practice. Ojo works instinctively, with precision and without adhesives, to refashion these items into poetic yet perverse arrangements that make visible the phenomenon of social aspiration, unveiling its double-edged nature as a facilitator of both belonging and instability.
Ojo deliberately seeks out items that seem larger than the sum of their parts—things that might crystallize a certain cultural fixation, or aspire to an iconic permanency far beyond their fast-fashion origins—and transforms them into sculptures that possess an insistent confidence while also hinting at the presence of a fantastical inner life. The artist meticulously catalogs every object that arrives in his studio; he reproduces each original item description in its entirety, exactly as seen online, in the medium line of the captions for his sculptures. Through these long lists of overlapping search-optimized keywords, Ojo probes at the latent lexical and algorithmic undergirding of contemporary e-commerce systems—intertwining the art-historical tradition of the readymade with the consumerist haven of present-day life.
Born in Cookeville, Tennessee, Kayode Ojo (b. 1990) received his BFA from the School of Visual Arts, New York, in 2012. Ojo has had solo presentations at galleries worldwide, most recently at Von Ammon Co., Washington, DC (2023); Università Iuav di Venezia, Venice (2022); Sweetwater, Berlin (2021); Martos Gallery, New York (2020); Praz-Delavallade, Los Angeles (2020); Galerie Balice Hertling, Paris (2018), and Paula Cooper Gallery, New York (2018).
Ojo is represented by Sweetwater, Berlin, and Galerie Balice Hertling, Paris. The artist lives and works in New York.