John Isaacs, Untitled, 2019, glazed ceramic, wood, steel, 125 x 57 x 44 cm

John Isaacs, A perfect soul, 2018, silver gelatin print on baryt paper, 25 x 20 cm, edition of 6-2 ap 01

John Isaacs, This is the place, 2016,  bronze, steel, 23 carat gold leaf, 104 x 24 x 48 cm

John Isaacs, The architecture of empathy, 2019, cement, steel, wood, polystyrene, hand dyed fabric, 65 x 57 x 274 cm

Press Release

Artvera’s presents John Isaacs’ first solo show in Geneva. This is the place offers an overview of the artist’s practice.

British artist John Isaacs started his career in the 1990s on the buzzing London art scene: he first generated attention thanks to the Young British Artists exhibitions at the Saatchi and Hayward galleries. Deeply influenced by science and poetry, his work takes roots from popular imagery, drawing from ancient to modern references.

This is the place brings together a group of works made between 2003 and 2019. Experimenting with genres and techniques, Isaacs plays with the concept of appropriation while questioning the primary meaning of images and words. As a result, the works are simultaneously hyperrealist and abstract, suggesting different interpretations. Social matters are approached with humour and sarcasm through timeless symbols which are political, anatomic or poetic. These experiments place particular importance on words, with the titles or the works themselves. Words are used poetically, interrogatively, even for propaganda purposes. Isaacs’ works can be seen as indicators of the current state or future of humanity, in a mixture of seductive optimism and abject pessimism.

John Isaacs’ work has been subject of numerous exhibitions in international museums, institutions and galleries, including Young British Artists VI, The Saatchi Gallery, London (1996); Spectacular Bodies, The Hayward Gallery, London (2000); Disasters of War, KW, Berlin (2000); Minimal Maximal, Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto (2001); Mike Kelly’s The Uncanny, Tate Liverpool (2004); In the darkest hour there may be light, The Serpentine Gallery, London (2007); Rockers Island: The Olbricht Collection, Museum Folkwang Essen (2007); Paul Thek in the context of contemporary art, ZKM, Karlsruhe (2007); Dream Time, Les Abattoirs, Musée d’art moderne et contemporain, Toulouse (2009); Freedom not Genius, Works from Damien Hirst’s Murderme Collection, Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli, Turin (2012); Alice im Wunderland der Kunst, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg (2012); Highlights from the Collection II, The Goss-Michael Foundation, Dallas (2012); The name is Burroughs − Expanded Media, Sammlung Falckenberg, Deichtorhallen, Hamburg (2013); A Brief History of the Future, Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Brussels (2015); About Trees, Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern (2015); Fleischeslust, Museum Villa Rot, Burgrieden-Rot, Germany (2015); The Thousand-Thigh Hospice: experiments in healing, CAN, Centre d’Art de Neuchatel, Switzerland (2015); Absurd builders, handymen utopia, Abbaye Saint André, Centre d’art contemporain, Meymac, France (2015); The inner skin – Art and Shame, Museum für Kunst, Architektur, Design, Marta Herford, Germany, John Isaacs, Archipelago, Galleria Poggiali, Milan, Italy, (2018); Eat me, Kunstmuseum Trapholt, Kolding, Denmark (2018); among others.

The work of John Isaacs has been collected by some of the most cutting-edge and renowned private collections worldwide (British Arts Council, Black Flag, Olbricht, Murder Me / Damien Hirst, De Galbert, Speyer, Deitch Projects, Berri, Saatchi, Kim/Arario, and artists such as Madonna, Damien Hirst and Cindy Sherman, etc…).

John Isaacs (b. 1968 Lancaster, UK) lives and works in Berlin, Germany.

Selected Press