Chele Isaac

The End of Angels, 2013. Multimedia installation. Dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist.

Madison, WI


Isaac mobilizes video, sculpture, sound, pre-cinematic theatre strategies, re-enactment, dioramas, and re-photography as a means to mine and investigate the uncanny in the everyday. The End of Angels is an installation that references the magic lantern, a type of projector developed in the seventeenth century. Employed by magicians to make images look like floating apparitions, the device conjured associations with the supernatural. Similarly, charlatans used magic lanterns to convince customers that they could be transported beyond and through the veil of the everyday. Chele Isaac conflates these experiences with those generated by more contemporary moving-image technologies, which can also provide temporary escape into the fantastical. Isaac creates spaces that blur the boundaries of the real and the projected, the material and the spiritual. In this collision of worlds, we can take a momentary break from reality and embrace the unknowable.

A note from the artist:
The production of The End of Angels involved set-building, lighting, filming, working with actors, creating novel equipment and clearing technical hurdles. It would have been impossible without the creative generosity, faith and patience of a bevy of friends. With the underlying terror that I might forget someone, I wish to acknowledge the following with deepest gratitude:
Jack Kellogg – assistance throughout: filming, sound design, creative feedback, general endurance
Melanie & Frank Cain of Fresco Opera Theater
Beth Bojarski – traveling angel; Perrin Candinas – curious angel; Hazel Gunneson – lost angel; Claire Lodico – flying angel; Michael Jay McClure – dancing angel; Sampson – canine angel
Assistants, advice, animal handling, and builders
Anna Campbell, Jill Casid, Martha Downs, Aaron Granat, Willow Grimm, Erik Gunneson, Meg Hamel, BA Harrington, Bernice Isaac, Rick Ross, Luv Joy Seaman, Sector 67, Peter Sengstock, Mark Winter

The crew at MMoCA

And especially John Neis, the ardent angel.          


Chele Isaac lives and works in Madison. Her work is primarily installation based and utilizes multi-channel video projection, sound as environment, and sculpture. She cofounded a graphic design company before returning to school to earn her MFA in 2008 in sculpture at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where she focused on multi-media installation. Her work, as well as her collaborative projects with B.A. Harrington, has been shown regionally and nationally.

Behind the Scenes

Chele Isaac: In the Studio