Isabelle Desjeux

Isabelle Desjeux is a Singapore-based artist and researcher. Using her training in Molecular Biology, she creates new kinds of scientific method-based artworks. Drawing from the similarities of practice of both worlds, Isabelle’s art feels like science. Her art takes the form of videos, installations and lectures using elaborate techniques of ‘Pataphysics, drawing the visitor in as participant.

Scientist Suresh Jesuthasan (left) and artist Debbie Ding looking a their respective exhibition pieces about the alarm response in zebrafish created as the outcome of their collaborative journey (Drawing Neurons, 2019)

Exploring how new knowledge is produced (at the individual level and at the wider community level), Desjeux has worked with scientists to detangle how they approach the scientific process in the lab, but also with children in playful learning environments (as opposed to formal learning environments) . Making a parallel between the 2 worlds, the notion of Curiosity Awareness and Possibility of Failing have emerged as essential ingredients/prerequisites to the “Eureka’ of discovery.

96 Rubber Seeds (2014) – This photographic display is part of the Hevealogy project, inviting viewers to observe and recognise the difference between different Hevea brasiliensis seed pods.

Curiosity for raising curiosity awareness has led Desjeux to explore the photographic process (through pinhole photography and camera obscura), to create the field of Hevealogy (to question how, what for and why rubber seeds explode), and developed the speculative character of Buang, a 19th Century Malay Scientist, among other projects.

Pinhole in The Neighbourhood (2019-2020) – Desjeux engaging with children from the neighbourhood, exploring pinhole photography together.

Her daily occupation consists of developing Curiosity Awareness tools and workshops in the laboratory, “L’Observatoire”, located in a pre-school where she is the permanent artist-in-residence. The result is a co-creative cacophony, where she also invites local artists for month-long residencies, to taste the possibilities of having young children as public, critique, and sometimes co-creators.

She received her MAFA from Lasalle (2011), was the recipient of the French-Singapore New Generation Artist (2011), and of a Lasalle Research Fellowship (2017). Her work has been exhibited in museums across Singapore, in Japan and USA. She teaches regularly across disciplines from pre-school to post-graduate level, and currently runs a residency space in a pre-school, inviting artists to experiment and let children into their process

Artist Website:

L’Observatoire Residency Website: