Madrid

John Isaacs, Sleepwalking into the Anthropocene, 2019, clay, steel, epoxy resin, paper, 27 1⁄2 × 32 1⁄4 × 14 1⁄8".

John Isaacs, Sleepwalking into the Anthropocene, 2019, clay, steel, epoxy resin, paper, 27 1⁄2 × 32 1⁄4 × 14 1⁄8".

John Isaacs

Travesía Cuatro | Madrid

A colorful colossus, vaguely anthropomorphic and covered in rags, guards the gallery entrance, setting an ambivalent tone for the carefully orchestrated choreography of John Isaacs’s exhibition “Dust.” All but one of the works on view have been shipped from the British artist’s Berlin studio—literally hot from the oven in the case of some ceramics. Isaacs has carefully arranged them to suggest a loose narrative, with an almost rakish progress from the most open spaces, visible from the street, toward the private, recondite inner rooms.

Totem or taboo? The piece is titled The Architecture of Empathy, 2019, and looks both welcoming and vaguely threatening: It is difficult to decide whether it stands as a hopeful milestone or as a warning. It could be an artifact of a future festive civilization, or the ruin of an earlier one already wiped from the face of the Earth. Isaacs himself commented

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