In Translation

November 2 - December 14, 2019


323 10th Street, San Francisco CA



John Sanborn is fascinated by stories. – and the stories of those stories. The ways they inform our understanding of our selves, others, and the world. The ways they can be stifling and prejudicial. And the ways they so often prove to be fanciful illusions in which we have invested too much authority. But Sanborn’s work is not by nature cynical. He doesn’t bemoan this duplicity in the stories we tell. To the contrary, he celebrates the subversion of inherited narratives; and he affirms the deception in stories – albeit with a degree of dark humor – as holding open the possibility of their being told otherwise.

-curator Clark Buckner

Postcards from Post-America

5 September - 21 September

Galerie Tokonoma, Paris


Even as I type these words I know that I will fail to fully describe my ideas.

And that is the point.

Starting with the premise that empathy is programmatic, Post-Cards from Post-America tempers mixed signals and the imprecision and impracticality of morphology to create a narrative of confusion. Mashing together the ontology of phonological and expressive needs, the work extrudes our current lack of coherence into a comic linguistic puzzle.


The barriers to expression are the first step – but after that what do we have to say? Are we speaking truth to power, or shouting into the wind? Do we even know what truth is – or are we satisfied with making it up as we go along?


created by John Sanborn

Commissioned by

The National Museum of Qatar

Opened March 27, 2019

Permanent Installation

Alchemy celebrates the remarkable daring and enormous benefits of Qatar’s development of Liquid Natural Gas as a resource for the world.  The work conveys the beauty and majesty of this achievement, in ingenious and poetic form; beginning with a mysterious unknown, continuing through three choreographic stages, and ending with a smile of recognition.

Produced by the Doha Film Institute

Edited by John Sanborn, Heloise Roueau and Roger Jones

Technical Direction by Dean Winkler and Roger Jones

CGI by Nice Shoes, New York

Ligne Droite et Cercle

(the straight line and a circle)

March 9th – March 25th 2017


Galerie de l'Angle

45 rue des Tournelles

75003 Paris


Science and art were once complimentary philosophies of existence – each with their particular definition of truth. One understands that facts will lead to conclusions; the other asserts the journey is more interesting than the destination.


To combat this, we grope for ways to describe our emotions, in order to weaponize them. Calculations affecting time and memory indicate that neural pathways are not direct, but circuitous and without logic. 


Une Exposition des Oeuvres de

John Sanborn

Curated by Stephen Sarrazin

Musee des Arts Decoratifs

Palais Jacques Coeur

Bourges, France

11.24.16 to 12.22.16


A collection of eight installations curated by Stephen Sarrazin, and presented with Bandits Mages, Isabelle Carlier, Director.

Palais Jacques Coeur:

  • The Temptation of St. Anthony

  • If I Might Suggest

  • Rock | Paper | Scissors

Musee des Arts Decoratifs_Hotel Lallemant

  • Rhyme or Reason

  • RED Book series

  • Mythic Status

  • Encryption

Shifting Horizons


Myth, Music, Memory           

the Media Art of John Sanborn


Bangkok Art and Cutlure Center

03.25.16 to 07.10.16


Curated by my friend, writer and teacher, Stephen Sarrazin, this show is the biggest, richest and most intense exhibition I’ve ever done.


For this show I created two new works, showcased four recent installations, added to a series of new gods, and remade a classic installation work from 1982. The assembly of the works felt like one giant statement.

Dowsing for Divinity

a one-person show of media art works


Curated by Stephen Sarrazin


Cartel Collective

October 8 to 1. November 2015

Sanborn combines questions of biography and memory, how we remember (and the betrayals of memory), conflicts of identity and who we want to be, of doubt and triumph, all in a form that combine high tech virtuosity, considerations on the use of narrative in the art environment, and a playful sense of irreverence.


Berlin Cartel Show.pdf

V+M  | 2015

9 channel video and sound installation  


Music by Theresa Wong

Co-Produced by Videoformes


March 2015


V+M examines the nature and value of Venus and Mars by retelling their story rendered in the language of love, delivered by portraits of three couples (male + female, female + female, male + male) whose attraction and love cross traditional boundaries. The work presents a cross-gender interpretation of the mythic pairing of Eros and Chaos to get to the root of what makes Mars, Mars; and Venus, Venus.


3 channel video and sound installation


music by Theresa Wong


Rhyme or Reason is an expression of humanity as positioned somewhere between inarticulate intimacy and a vast social machine. The work is commentary on our inability (but continual struggle) to define ourselves - powerless against the forces of nature and the initiatives of civilization.


Rhyme or Reason premiered at the TRACE(S) festival des arts numeriques in the Chartreuse de Valbonne on May 5th 2015.