‘Everything is on the cusp. Between life and death, heaven and earth, ground and sky, safety and danger, physical and immaterial. I am interested in means of controlling the body through medicine, alternative therapies, exercises, torture devices and occult traditions. Drawing with mustard, pepper and tape onto the wall, a still of Homer Simpson, his warm drool revealing his vitality; hammering glowing molten metal rods into lines of ancient instruments of torture – a Scavenger’s Daughter, then punctured through and hung with silhouettes of terracotta acrobats; digitally augmenting the sound of my mother’s pacemaker controlled heart and shaking ancient walls and disrupting the internal rhythms of contemporary guts with the Dubstep sub bass vibrations, further heightened by the use of equipment donated by friends and family, the sound passing back and forth between mechanical and human. Making the work seems to be a form of autonomous, cryptic, ceremonial catharsis. Although endeavouring to heal the wounds of others, each action is ultimately egocentric.
My practice is adaptable, using drawing, objects, sound, painting and video. How do society and the individual cope with the frailty and finiteness of a person and their body, the cultural and clinical management of death? These vary through the customs of east and west, academic and pop, historical and present. I look across Chinese and European medical techniques witnessing the oddities of both – cures can appear bizarre and absurd. The work attempts to probe the line between desperation and the ridiculous, and the spaces and forms that fear of pain and mortality can push us to. What seems at first visually preposterous is actually a desperate attempt to grasp onto life.’

Isabelle Zhizhi Southwood @ Turf:


‘so good to be alive’, Isabelle Southwood: Limited Edition Print