The phrase “Lunatique,” right here serving because the title of Ernst Yohji Jaeger’s solo present, describes a turbulence of moods that, not like its fake ami in English, neither condemns nor institutionalizes. Relatively, it names a volatility that we’re all able to, an have an effect on that is still enshrouded within the thriller of by no means understanding what’s subsequent, of residing in a bewitching current whose horrifying, amusing, or mundane moments permit us to shock even ourselves.
Such a spectrum of expertise is conveyed by means of ambivalence and earth tones within the ten works (all 2022) on view. In Untitled (Coin), an elfin determine with an emo haircut and tiny faun ears slumps ahead. In what could possibly be the ennui of adolescence or the start of a magic trick, he frames his head between two disproportionately massive arms, considered one of which begins to dissolve because it collects inexperienced dots off the blue floor—a reference to Felice Casorati’s Joke: Eggs (or Eggs on a Inexperienced Carpet), 1914-15. In Untitled (Coronary heart), Jaeger fills the square-shaped canvas with geometric planes that develop into brown partitions, a darkish and cloudy sky, a wine-colored coronary heart engraved like an historical valentine. The sunshine that seeps beneath a doorframe echoes the sepia hallway in Leonora Carrington’s And Then We Noticed the Daughter of the Minotaur, 1953. All through Jaeger’s photos, every thing is by some means dimmed, subdued. Sure scenes possess the refined horror of a Miljenko Stančić inside, corresponding to one portrait of a manga-inspired character whose eyes and mouth are eerily absent, having maybe slipped off into the emerald swaths of the canvas because the determine stares, catatonic, at a too-close display screen. We’re left questioning what they see.
This isn’t the one second when views collapse, or lock one another out. In Untitled (Transit), somebody gazes out from the deck of a ship at an virtually imperceptible moon, whereas the wind turns pages in a e-book earlier than them. Though they’re not alone—the hand holding a cigarette within the foreground, positioned as if an extension of the viewer’s physique, turns into our avatar on this nocturnal scene—they’re deep inside their solitude. The entire image is wistful and reflective, romantic however not overly sentimental. Wherever we’re headed, we glide on into the night time of our interior worlds—calm one second, troubled the following—wholly knowable to us alone.