Isaac Lythgoe: Would I lie to you

31 May - 12 July 2024 Seoul

When falsehood can look so like the truth,

who can assure themselves of certain happiness?

Would I lie to you is Isaac Lythgoe’s debut solo show in Korea. Lythgoe’s work employs ideas from narrative and storytelling traditions to discuss how new and prospective technologies might influence our future societal structures. His current body of work reimagines the cultural and mythological associations of the planets of the solar system as the building blocks of this future. Lythgoe explores these moral, ethical, and social histories as potentials in a posthumanist world. Rather than a vision of an enlightened step forward, he defines a world built on the relevance of the past, layered with the lessons of history and the influences of the natural world.


For this show, the classical figure of Venus- representative of love and desire- becomes the lens through which we may consider technology’s influence on our interpersonal relationships. Quite how intrinsic is authenticity or physical experience to love? How will AI companions, deep fakes, and virtual intimacy distort our relationships? Will we be able to design our appearance, our emotions, or indeed those of our partners?

Produced in the rural French countryside, Lythgoe uses Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein as an allegory both for this production and, for the unpredictable impact of new technologies. Frankenstein is a cautionary tale of creation without foresight, an exploration of the unforeseen difficulties integrating artificial life into society, and, moreover, how susceptible our emotions are to such artificial influence.


Dr Frankenstein - horrified by what he has made, rejects the creature he has given life to, in spite of its obvious emotional intelligence. “I ought to be thy Adam, but I am rather the fallen angel…” could easily be the reaction of one of the intelligent systems being built today and not those of Dr Frankenstein’s creature. How might we feel once AI establishes itself in all aspects of our lives? Will it be possible to communicate without it? Will it be possible to simply reject it entirely?


The eight new works shown here play out in a narrative context. A central figurative sculpture, our protagonist, balances between poses and timelines. One half serene, accepting - a reclining, futuristic, art-historical Venus. Met by a second: reminiscent, resistant; referent to Artemisia Gentischi’s Judith, from the painting of the beheading of Holofernes. Six small paintings at first appear schematic - body parts carefully airbrushed onto gridded backgrounds map out the distinctive features of the sculpture.
Yet, as the paintings move and shift around their curved supports we might imagine like our AI systems we use today, that the sculpture is being redesigned while already in existence. A final large painting of a reclined figure, leaves the show with an open ending, is this contentment or desperation? A symbiosis with the virtual or perhaps with landscape and nature itself?

Installation Views