The work of John Isaacs produces altered modes of historic perception. Approaching materials from a temporary understanding, the artist transforms oldness and newness into ambiguous categories. Simultaneously, Isaacs reverts the symbology used by religious institutions or popular culture to establish parameters of value and meaning. By liberating these signs from their regular references they can be arranged as a common ground where a truly human aspect manifests itself, with the disposal and tendency towards transcendence.
The initial estrangement produced by Isaacs’ works concerns a shared essence between humans that the artist decides to sublimate but also to parody, using a great diversity of mediums and materials. John Isaacs employs language and referentiality for an adverse purpose, instead of reaffirming meaning, he cancels it in order to reveal the emotional dimension of things and their relation to the human body.
John Isaacs has exhibited extensively on an international level. Exhibitions include: Young British Artists VI, The Saatchi Gallery, London, United Kingdom (1996); Spectacular Bodies, The Hayward Gallery, London, United Kingdom (2000); Disasters of War, KW, Berlin, Germany (2000); Minimal Maximal, Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, Japan (2001); Melodrama, Centro Museo Vasco de Arte Contemporáneo, Vitoria-Gasteiz and Palacio de los Condes de Gabia/Centro José Guerrero, Granada, Spain (2002) and MARCO, Vigo, Spain (2003); Mike Kelly’s The Uncanny, Tate Liverpool, United Kingdom (2004); Les Grands Spectacles, Museum der Moderne, Salzburg, Austria (2004); In the darkest hour there may be light, The Serpentine Gallery, London, United Kingdom (2007); Rockers Island: The Olbricht Collection, Museum Folkwang Essen, Germany (2007); Paul Thek in the context of contemporary art, ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany (2007); Dream Time, Les Abat- toirs, Musée d’art moderne et contemporain, Toulouse, France (2009); Freedom not Genius, Works from Damien Hirst’s Murderme Collection, Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli, Turin, Italy (2012); Alice im Wunderland der Kunst, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany (2012); Highlights from the Collection II, The Goss-Michael Foundation, Dallas, United States (2012); The name is Burroughs − Expanded Media, Sammlung Falckenberg, Deichtorhallen, Hamburg, Germany (2013); A Brief History of the Future, Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Brussels (2015); About Trees, Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern, Switzerland (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); Forgiveness and Reconciliation, Musei Vaticani, Rome, Italy (2015); INCONSOLUS votes for children, Travesía Cuatro, Madrid, Spain (2015); The 13 Corners, Travesía Cuatro Guadalajara, Mexico (2016); The inner skin – Art and Shame, Museum für Kunst, Architektur, Design, Marta Herford, Germany; John Isaacs, Archipelago, Galleria Poggiali, Milan, Italy, (2018); Da uno a Dieci, Galleria Massimo Minini, Brescia, Italy (2018); Eat me, Kunstmuseum Trapholt, Kolding, Denmark (2018); among others.
John Isaacs lives and works in Berlin, Germany.