Isabelle Sully’s work is anchored to a form of feminist institutional critique that has at its heart an identity crisis around the paradox at play in the ‘solo act’. In placing importance on the ‘supporting role’, how do concurrent desires for notability prevail, persist or garner spotlight given the behind-the-scenes nature of these so-called ancillary activities? Through treating administration as material, recent works and projects have adopted techniques and measurements of performance—the monologue, the stand-in, the cameo and the understudy, or, the evaluation form, the audit report, the safety measure and the policy document—to understand the effects of standardisation on the relativity of need and expression. By playing with the uptake of roles in a context-specific way, she primarily toys with language as a means to work against providing, saying and feeling only that which is called for.
Isabelle Sully (b. 1991, AU) works across art-making, curating, editing and writing. She received a Bachelor of Fine Art from the Victorian College of the Arts in 2013 and a Master of Arts (Art Praxis) from the Dutch Art Institute in 2017. Originally from Melbourne, she now lives in Rotterdam and is assistant curator at Kunstverein, Amsterdam.