Kajahl resurrects objects that lay dormant in historical archives, endlessly scouring and excavating books, online images, and museums to gather his source material. Kajahl then takes his findings and hybridizes entities into one grandiose figure or image. Although the characters he constructs belong to a multiplicity of time periods, locations, and cultures, their conflation foregrounds the forgotten past to reanimate minor artifacts of history in transformative assemblage. For Kajahl, painting is an arena to traverse diverse cultures and temporalities to challenge and confront previously held notions of identity and relation. Kajahl’s painting questions these boundaries by treating painting as a site of radical mixtures, overlooked histories, and speculative fiction. Open to chaos and complexity, Kajahl expands the periphery of current critical discourse to reimagine systemizations of power and memory.
Kajahl (b.1985, Santa Cruz, CA) received his BFA from San Francisco State University (2008) and attended the Accademia di Belle Arti Firenze, Italy (2007). He received his MFA from Hunter College, New York (2012). He was also an Adjunct Faculty member at the New York Academy of Art. Recent solo exhibitions include moniquemeloche gallery, Chicago, IL (2022 & 2020); Richard Heller Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (2020 & 2017), and Tillou Fine Art, Brooklyn, NY (2017). Group exhibitions include Lubeznik Center for the Arts, Michigan City, IN (2022); 21c Museum, Louisville, KY (2021); Lower Eastside Print Shop, New York, NY (2020); Super Duchess Gallery, New York, NY (2019); Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa (2016); and the Museum of Contemporary African Diaspora, Brooklyn, NY (2013), among others.
His work is in the permanent collections of The Studio Museum, Harlem, NY; 21C Museum Hotel, and the Dean Collection, among others. He has received the Rydell Visual Arts Fellowship, New York, NY (2021); Lower Eastside Printshop as the Keyholder Resident, New York, NY (2019); Artist in Residence at the Joan Mitchell Center, New Orleans, LA (2018); the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant, New York, NY (2013). Kajahl lives and works in Santa Cruz, CA.