past exhibition

OPENING RECEPTION:  Friday, February 7th, 6 pm -9 pm
Exhibition: February 6th - 28th, 2020



81 Leonard Gallery, in collaboration with Uncommon Beauty Gallery, Announces
Taher Jaoui’s Solo Exhibition, Controlled Entropy

Taher Jaoui, Don’t Pretend Nothing is Wrong, 2019. Mixed media on canvas. 43 x 61 in. Courtesy of the Artist.

For Immediate Release

NEW YORK — 81 Leonard Gallery and Uncommon Beauty Gallery are delighted to announce the solo exhibition of Taher Jaoui – the Tunisian-born, Berlin-based artist’s first solo presentation in the U.S. On view at 81 Leonard Street, New York, NY, from February 6th to 28th, Controlled Entropy will feature three bodies of paintings from 2019 and a new sculpture from 2020 that has never been shown before. The opening reception will be held on February 7th from 6 pm to 9 pm

A self-taught artist, Jaoui is not afraid of expressing himself through a full palette and a wide array of textures. In his paintings, various colors and forms – sometimes abstract, sometimes semi-figurative, and sometimes mathematical signs and numbers — are choreographed into a wild dance, reaching to every corner of the canvas. As highlighted in the Wall Street International Magazine, “Taher Jaoui’s cosmos is always in motion.” While his creative process is spontaneous – layering oil, enamel, spray paint and charcoal on canvas until the continuously changing elements settle into harmony – the seemingly impulsive way of artmaking is grounded in his strong familiarity with various materials and his capability to predict and respond to them quickly. As indicated by the exhibition title, Controlled Entropy, Jaoui’s work is a playground of a free soul and a rational mind, and so is Jaoui himself. Growing up in a scientists’ family, Jaoui was once a financial engineer. Before becoming a visual artist, he was an actor for a few years, during which he learned to use body and movement to convey his feelings — something he found in common in making art. He was also inspired by early Abstract Expressionistic theories that consider ideas of quantum mechanics in the conceptualization. As a result, Jaoui’s work is a game of intuition and reason.


Taher Jaoui, Dreaming about you, 2019. Mixed media on canvas. 43 x 61 in. Courtesy of the Artist.

The unconstrained raw energy in Jaoui’s paintings further flows into the third dimension. In addition to Jaoui’s renowned work on canvas, the exhibition also looks into the artist’s most recent experiment with spatial expansion. The audience will see Jaoui’s new sculpture A Can Opener for Penguins (2020) that is built from dozens of colorful 3Dprinted pieces, all hand-mounted into a sophisticated, intertwined structure. The title refers to a surreal moment in David Fincher’s Flight Club in which Edward Norton’s character met a sliding penguin, an embodiment of his subconsciousness. Through this sculpture, Jaoui frees his own subconsciousness, manifested as many different elements in a painting under the same title from 2019, and brings these elements to life in the three-dimensional space.

Taher Jaoui (b.1978) was born in Tunis, Tunisia. In 2005 he graduated from Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Paris and in 2007 from the world-renowned Sorbonne University. He now lives and works in Berlin. Jaoui’s work mixes paintings and drawings in ways that are both abstract and figurative. His compositions are built through an intuitive and unconscious process while his inspiration comes from many sources, including abstract expressionism, cartoons, graffiti, street art, and primitivism. Jaoui’s colorful compositions stimulate the viewer's feelings and imagination and let them build their own interpretation. Jaoui is represented by galleries in New York, Berlin, London, Tel Aviv, Tunis, and Dubai. His works are prominently featured in numerous private collections in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and the USA.


Founded in 2019, 81 Leonard Gallery is a New York-based, artist-run space representing artists from around the globe. 81 Leonard provides a platform for emerging and established contemporary artists to stimulate engagement in critical thinking and culture. Through its diverse multi-media program, the gallery focuses on bringing diverse artists to new audiences. (https://www.


Based in New York, Uncommon Beauty Gallery is a globally curated and socially responsible Art Space representing artists from all over the world, from emerging to established. Uncommon Beauty recognizes that minorities, female, queer, and gender non-conforming artists are grossly underrepresented in today’s art market and is determined to contribute to improving this unfair imbalance. (

Press contact: Mengna Da (


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