The Solitaries


The installation of figures create a powerful crowd of personas mirroring facets of the viewers’ own personality. Detached from the walls, the Solitaires inhabit the space and own every element of it: the air, the light and the sounds. It is a universe of spiritual elevation where the visitor has no choice but to intrude upon their domain, both individually and as a crowd. Scaled up to supersede normal human dimensions, the Solitaires intimidate but also encourage the eyes to enter into a minefield of electrifying sensations. The fundamentals of lust and love, greed and hope, death and freedom, self-doubt and arrogance are transposed upon their mute existence.

The name ‘Solitaires’ embodies the existential paradox of collective solitudes. Figures entrapped in their own individuality affront the pressure of the crowd- the very crowd they do not want to follow yet wish to be followed by.

The figures were conceived in transitive moments of travel. Drawn on scraps of paper on trains, buses, in cafes, museums and galleries, anywhere but at home. From hundreds of small drawings only a few actually give birth to the Solitaires. This is an ongoing project, more figures will be added to the existing crowd through time. A Solitaires wallpaper project is being developed.

“Yeats said that ‘the arts are the only way to Byzantium’… they are also what separate us from the animal world… We are all striving to understand our source and reason for existence– the inherent dichotomies of destruction and rejuvenation, of fear and redemption- are also those that fire Jim Sanders’ desire to understand the human condition; and it is these that are interpreted as tensions in his extraordinary work.”

By Stella Knight
Forster Gallery, London

“A slim silhouette leans upon the floor. His hands hover over the layers of hessian with the up-ended brush dripping black paint in anticipation of the figure to arbitrarily emerge; it is childish, yet vulgar, radiating an internal savagery smeared with innocence.”

By Aliki Lempidaki

Jim Sanders


Born December 1975 in Solihull, West Midlands, UK.

Studied Graphic Communication and Illustration. Sanders’ work is primarily concerned with a desire to understand the human condition, constantly striving to make sense of interactions and relationships.

Autobiographical aspects materialise from Sanders’ own Catholic background– the ornate and decorative elements inspired by altar pieces, votive offerings and shrines– aspects of a European Christianity fused with its various permutations found in South America. The inception of his ideas has an affinity with outsider art, non-traditional Western and intuitive arts, sharing their common concern with the universal experiences of birth, love, sex, reproduction and death.

Sanders works predominantly in painting, assemblage and sculpture. He also regularly creates artwork, murals, sets and costumes in collaboration with live art practitioners.

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