Thu 16 Mar 2023 to Sun 14 May 2023
Mon-Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 12-6pm
This March, Saatchi Yates presents the inaugural solo exhibition of American TikTok sensation Michael Todd Horne - known as Bijijoo (b. 1975), with a select number of new works delving into his personal world of monsters and characters that garnered him a cult following since joining the platform in March 2021.
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A zoo-like array of large-scale paintings sees amorphous, colour-drenched monsters emerge at Saatchi Yates, some with an unsettling glee reminiscent of the wonder and dread felt towards the unknown in childhood. Off-kilter in their gait and proportions, they lurch towards the boundaries of the canvas, and tap into nostalgia.
Bijijoo’s paintings result from process-driven experimentation with painting media and automatic drawing, using traditional and digital techniques. He builds mixed media layers to amplify interplays of light, colour, and texture. Images are conjured from chaos, in a process akin to divination. The forms that take shape trend toward human and animal: grotesque exaggerations of life, monstrous cartoons, vanitas. Narratives emerge through these interactions, reflecting struggle, celebration, and introspection. The results depict experiences, interactions, and movements frozen in a personal space and time.
In his practice, Bijijoo makes an innovative contribution to the artistic fields of figuration, abstraction and digital, weaving his lifelong passion for painting and drawing with his technical studies in mathematics, physics, computer science, and chemistry, which culminated in a Ph.D in biophysics in 2008. Though, at the heart of his work is the inspiration he draws from his daughter’s imagination and love of monsters.
Through meticulously framed, step-by-step shots of his painting processes, Bijijo’s TikTok videos convey the physicality of his work, accompanied with ASMR-inducing sound editing, and self-composed electronic music.
“I get comments from [young people] that their art teacher - some dude somewhere - thinks that good art has to be realistic. Or they talk about other limitations,” says Bijijoo. “But then someone sees these videos where I’m just throwing mixed media around, and it inspires them to break out of that mould. That’s something I love. I definitely want to live in a world where people are more creative.”