The Big Fish!

A solo presentation by Yulia Iosilzon

14 - 29 April 2021

Stockholm, Sweden


Berntson Bhattacharjee is pleased to announce the debut Stockholm exhibition of London based artist Yulia Iosilzon, titled The Big Fish!. This exhibition will be the gallery’s inaugural show in Stockholm and is hosted in collaboration with Sotheby’s. This new body of works takes inspiration from Japanese forms of storytelling to explore themes of balance within nature.  


Iosilzon’s practice marries together references from fairytales, mythology, nature and whimsical memories of her childhood. She tells stories in an almost allegorical way, using symbolism and fantastical characters to illustrate the deeper meanings within her work. This results in paintings that feel nostalgic to the viewer, even upon encountering them for the first time. 


With this series of paintings Yulia explores two Japanese artforms, Kabuki theatre and manga comics, and incorporates elements of these traditions into her practice. As with a comic strip, each painting in this body of work can be viewed individually, but together they create a story with a narrative. The drama and theatrical nature of Kabuki is a great inspiration to Yulia. With each painting she tells a tale, creating a magical act within the canvas.


The overarching message that these pieces tell is the importance of balance within nature. The recurring image of the fish in multiple paintings, along with other animals such as frogs and birds, speak of the circle of life. The symbolism of water and the bonsai tree as fertile, living, constant life sources is a nod to the Japanese way of life and their respect for tradition. Using fluid brushstrokes Yulia paints calligraphic lines, which bind together and connect human figures, animals and the landscape, creating an ideal world where harmony is found. 


Yulia Iosilzon (b. Moscow, 1992) studied at the Slade School of Fine Art and the Royal College of Art, London. This year she has had a solo exhibition at Huxley Parlour in London and has an upcoming exhibition in New York with Carvalho Park. Written press about her work has appeared in Harper’s Bazaar Russia, Afterview Art Review, AucArt, a Renli Su collaborative project, and Young Space. She is the recipient of the Bloomberg New Contemporaries Prize and the Audrey Wykeham Prize, and has been shortlisted for the Hix Award.