FEAST, FAMISH... TALK TO ME
Isaac Lythgoe is a sculptor of mythical side of modernity. Damn, somehow his fictional characters from his invented world with strange narratives deeply wound and penetrate us, pulling something oddly familiar to us.
Insightful Dasha Vzorov decided to ask him a few questions.
Eve, the serpent, or the apple?
I would be the apple.
If looks could kill.
How do you balance your Singularity versus Adherence to a collective/context?
I don’t really. But I ask myself a simple question whenever I make: “did i see this before?”
What material would you never use?
Is time your authority?
No, it’s like a companion, like always someone to walk instep, arm in arm with, I never want to chase after time and certainly never have to follow time.
Which position on spectrum of strange does your work inhabit?
I don’t know but I hope it’s always honestly strange.
To which degree do you compel/repel attention with your work?
If we talk about desire and fulfilled desire — then both are always relevant. Its a push pull. That if ever I’m guilty of pure seduction, I’ll be sure to break that spell with a question,be that formal, connective or aesthetic… Maybe we move into lucid dreams and that want/reality dichotomy. Either way I want to laugh, be annoyed, and still somehow never know where I stand with an object.
In that vein, does your work (willingly) evoke perturbation?
Does the world do that? The more you look the more fucked up/beautiful things are. But if we talk about objects, production and waste, maybe we’re all somewhat conscious of the supply and manufacturing trail that we scatter behind us. Sometimes I wish I didn’t know how the financial markets work, or chemicals are made, or how the moon moves further and further away from the earth every year.
Supernatural versus Weird, which means what to you?
Supernatural is all body, distinctly because it isn’t. Weird stays in my brain more.
What are your soft/hard limits?
Silk and stainless steel.
How do you tend to frame experience — how does framing your life’s experience relate to that of framing/creating a prism of perception with your art?
In a narrative sense, like a film production. There is a script, protagonists, props, plot trajectories, arcs. The communication is certainly not limited to dialogue, it is as much in emptiness, pose, brevity, connection etc.
To which degree are you honest with yourself? What does the oscillation depend on?
I’ll keep this about making… The people who worked at Apple described Steve Job’s “reality distortion affect” as a kind of coaxing, highly convincing scale of bullshit that would result in something no one knew how to make actually be brought to market. I have a very small Steve Jobs, who occasionally pops up from some fasting retreat and bullshits me into production I don’t know how to make. If that is some faith based dishonesty then I have the mundanity of making everything by hand, this inevitably shows you how shitty you are, I’m constantly critical of myself, it’s pretty essential to identify when you’re being a terrible artist.
Trippy, I like how the distortion of real, or this space imagined between “honesty and total bullshit,” produces its own brand of magic. Also, hoping you do not forever equate criticality with honesty… Surely only one sliver of the sword. On that note, true versus truth?
Ahhh, that’s a perfect time question if I say true I live in the present and pretend that true might not apply to something else tomorrow. If I say truth im dishonest, I can never be certain that a truth won’t later be found out to be not. Why can’t we remember the future…
How do you start again? (after birthing a work…)
Do you translate “essence” into form?
No, not directly.
How much Flow versus Critical thinking do you apply to your process?
IWorks take hundreds of hours to make — there is almost a straight work/labour divide. There is research and writing and discussion, but by the time I have materials in my hands I deliberately push into a flow state, this becomes something much more tactile; touch and looking and instinctive application of the conceptual work I’ve done prior.
Does your work surrender to the unrepresentable? Or fixate on representation of sorts?
Everything is representation at some point. But the weird/strange/eerie/supernatural are more important words against the impotency of objects.
Are your fairies dom/sub?
:) This is like the true/truth question.
What does “improper” taste mean to you?
Orange fanta everytime.
Do you find deflating artist’s ego crucial? Expand…
Of course. Any artist who made a good work is not themselves that work. The artist ego that exists extended from brain and body into some rarefied object that represents the maximal of what humans can make, is hilarious. Artists are all just these fallible bodies that bump into the occasional good idea.
Why sculpture as medium?
So many reasons, sculpture is my real love/hate, and why is it always so hard? I guess at some point a sculpture has to just exist with all the other things in the world — all the stuff, and if it can, while maintaining some sense of singularity, and still surprise or provoke then that’s a nice challenge.