Super Dakota

Super Dakota

Railway Spine

Railway Spine

Isaac Lythgoe

9 January → 22 February, 2020

Railway Spine

Railway Spine

Isaac Lythgoe

9 January → 22 February, 2020

© Isabelle Arthuis. Courtesy of the artist and Super Dakota, Brussels.

Railway Spine

London rains with particulate plastics.

I am getting sicker. A show title I used once, an anxiety I have used much more. Don’t self diagnose on the internet. Your cookies are sold as a package of symptom searches to your current or prospective insurance company. The country sickens, the world it seems. A mystery respiratory disease is burgeoning in an industrial Chinese city. There is a simplicity to reason, and a comfort to simplicity.

Bad news is nearly always true.

My uncle is a builder, a french one, a strong, handsome, straight from tip of nose to toes one. These days his body betrays him, a nurse visits the house once a month. Saline solution is drawn into a stainless steel needle. One of those big cartoonish types. Flicked and spurted, the needle punctures his skin just beneath the knuckle of a vertebrae, pushed deep into his back, the plunger pumps, flooding the bone, floating the boat off the sand. The egg timer turned for another month. My uncle adjusts to the change in pressure, over the next day his posture unfurls, his spine impersonates those memories I have of him of old. Glimpses of past glories.

Extinguish rebellious thoughts.


My dreams will surely betray you, the sick guilt at first light, nightmares flaring and fading quick, flash bulb focus. Pictures. Again. Pictures.

Whiplash, the universal symptom of the modern transport age. Rapid cervical acceleration-deceleration, a jolt to the neck, the pendulous head, the straining cutting seatbelt, car insurance claim after car insurance claim. Whiplash quickly became synonymous with motor accidents, bumpers bulldozing boots, but a while prior to this, whiplash was known as railway spine. Crumpling trains, clattering steel, crippling, ardent bodies. A name should know its body. Cancerous star signs are a two handed curse, I should know.


I take the Eurostar often. The magic of rarefied travel, solid ground to Europe, my dear crumbling Europe, cities stacked on ruins, accents of speciality. The channel tunnel is one of those projects that is hard to imagine these days. The innocence of maverick progression, the utopianism of countries in collaboration. Two crews of countrymen digging in unison, digging for unity. Unfathomable fathoms under. The Channel Tunnel, Concorde, French- British engineering pacts. The international space station, the large hadron collider…


A Russian nuclear sub sinks in the arctic, a navy commander names the 12 dead, he names heroes, men who have averted a near global catastrophe. The ship sunk, has burnt out on the seabed – faulty lithium batteries have ripped through the sub. Faulty batteries; batteries were reliable Ukrainian produce until Crimea, and arrogance saves little face when fronted with disaster.


Leaving Gare du Nord and racing through French fields i notice the train is taking a new route to usual. Our intriguing progress breaks quickly though, the train comes to a halt somewhere before Lille. Someone it seems has been on the tracks, there is little to be done. We pause an hour or two, eventually in reverse, creeping back to Paris to pause in international water. Time ticks, the train exists between worlds. Ten hours later, we roll into a quiet late night London. The rain seems to float horizontal down inside the old station, pink neon in the haze “I want my time with you” taunts down the sullen platform.


Isaac Lythgoe

011 →
railway spine
railway spine
railway spine
railway spine
railway spine
railway spine
railway spine
railway spine
railway spine
railway spine
railway spine

© Isabelle Arthuis. Courtesy of the artist and Super Dakota, Brussels.

Lille Europe

Isaac Lythgoe

Super Dakota

2020, jesmonite, acrylic, enamel, polyurethane, beeswax, birch ply, 107 x 50 x 40 cm. © Isabelle Arthuis. Courtesy of the artist and Super Dakota, Brussels.

Pont des arts

Isaac Lythgoe

Super Dakota

2020, jesmonite, steel, paint, lacquer, birch ply 107 x 50 x 40 cm, 42 x 19.6 x 15.7 cm. © Isabelle Arthuis. Courtesy of the artist and Super Dakota, Brussels.

Silk Road

Isaac Lythgoe

Super Dakota

2020, jesmonite, pigments, stainless steel, carbon bre, amacite, graphite, epoxy, flowers, 60 x 50 x 156 cm. © Isabelle Arthuis. Courtesy of the artist and Super Dakota, Brussels.

Who’s a big boy

Isaac Lythgoe

Super Dakota

2020, 3D prints, jesmonite, paint, stainless steel, neoprene, lacquer, silk, gauntlets, american walnut, faux fur, 190 x 56 x 70 cm. © Isabelle Arthuis. Courtesy of the artist and Super Dakota, Brussels.

Sherpa

Isaac Lythgoe

Super Dakota

2020, jesmonite, steel, car paint, faux fur, foam, air compressor, birch ply, velvet, cushions, lacquer, hardware253 x 96 x 100 cm. © Isabelle Arthuis. Courtesy of the artist and Super Dakota, Brussels.

Bad news is nearly always true

Isaac Lythgoe

Super Dakota

2020, 3D prints, epoxy, carbon bre, nomex, jesmonite, stainless steel, LED’s, hardware, silk, polyurethane, paint, lacquer, 210 x 170 x 80 cm. © Isabelle Arthuis. Courtesy of the artist and Super Dakota, Brussels.

Lille Europe, London 3am & Pont des arts

Isaac Lythgoe

© Isabelle Arthuis. Courtesy of the artist and Super Dakota, Brussels.

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