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John Russell, Those were insects that were their eyes II, 2017, backlit ink-jet print on vinyl, 10' 10 3/4“ x 55' 9 1/4”. Photo: Annik Wetter.

John Russell

Kunsthalle Zurich

John Russell, Those were insects that were their eyes II, 2017, backlit ink-jet print on vinyl, 10' 10 3/4“ x 55' 9 1/4”. Photo: Annik Wetter.

It might take unnerving times such as these for John Russell’s apocalyptic imageboard expressionism not only to shine in all its acute garishness but also to finally stick and enter the canon. That would explain the criticalreception of the artist’s institutional debut outside Great Britain—which was organized by Daniel Baumann—as being somehow “spectacular” if not patently awesome. “Strength through joy(zzzz)!” one might add to this, joy being not exactly connoted neofascistically in this instance, but simply echoing the jovial everyday salutation “Joyz” used by the mutated but mostly contented characters who inhabit the barely futuristic future depicted in Russell’s video Doggo, 2017, which premiered as part of the exhibition of the same title. That’s not to say that Russell’s sextet of humongous vinyl prints and the scenarios they contain aren’t fascistic in an upended,

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