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Jonathan Baldock 'Facecrime'

  • Fri, 13 Mar 2020 - Sun, 01 Nov 2020
  • 11.00 AM - 4.00 PM

Installation view: Jonathan Baldock, Facecrime, solo exhibition, Camden Arts Centre, London,2019. Courtesy the artist and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London. Photo: Luke Walker. 

We are delighted to welcome back Jonathan Baldock, Freelands Foundation artist in residence at Bluecoat January 2018, for his solo exhibition, Facecrime.

The main installation contains a landscape of ceramic columns inspired by cuneiform-inscribed tablets - an early system of writing - dating from 2500BC. Baldock’s version presents an alternative history of clay as a tool of communication; his ceramic columns feature expressive faces, emoji symbols and make audible groans, whistles and chuckles through concealed speakers. The columns are also adorned with weaving, basketry and glass drawn from different eras of labour, folklore and storytelling like an archeological find from a parallel universe.


The exhibition title itself is inspired by Orwell’s dystopian novel, 1984 - a facecrime being an “unconscious look of anxiety, a habit of muttering to yourself” suggesting that there was something to hide. Facecrime was commissioned by Camden Arts Centre through the Freelands Lomax Ceramics Fellowship.

Click here to see the online gallery

Our galleries are open from Thursday 30th July and will be open Thursday - Saturday from 11am - 4pm

Entry is free but we will be operating timed ticketing. We recommend you prebook to avoid disappointment, as numbers will be limited to ensure social distancing. Click here to book your visit to Bluecoat now

The health and safety of our visitors is our top priority. For more details on how we’re reopening, including the measures we are taking in line with government guidance on Covid-19, read our blog.

More about the artist 

Jonathan Baldock (b. 1980, Kent, UK) works across multiple platforms including sculpture, installation and performance. His work is saturated with humour and wit, as well as an uncanny, macabre quality that channels his longstanding interest in myth, folklore and the narratives associated with 'outsider' practices. Baldock graduated from Winchester School of Art with a BA in Painting (2000-2003), followed by the Royal College of Art, London with an MA in Painting (2003-2005). 

In the spring of 2019, Baldock had a solo exhibition at Camden Arts Centre, London, which toured to Tramway, Glasgow in August 2019. He has a forthcoming solo exhibition at Kunsthall Stavanger, Norway opening in May 2020. 

Other notable solo and two-person exhibitions include those at De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill (2017); The Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool (2017); Southwark Park Galleries, London (2017); PEER, London (2016); Chapter Gallery, Cardiff (2016); Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge (2013). 

Baldock is represented by Stephen Friedman Gallery, London. 

Facecrime Events

Family Workshop: Writing with Pictures | Sat 18 Apr, 1-4pm | Free, drop in | More info

Explore ways to communicate using pictures and invent your own picture-based alphabets. Suitable for children aged 5+

Coiling with Clay Workshop | Sat 25 Apr, 11am and 2pm | Tickets: £10/£8 | More info/Book now

Artist and ceramicist Atilla Olah leads a workshop in how to build ceramics using the coiling method, one of the oldest methods of making ceramics, coiling has been used across the globe to make vessels from rolls of clay layered on top of one another.

Family Workshop: Funny Faces | Sat 6 Jun, 1-4pm | Free, drop in | More info

Make your own funny face sculptures. 

The Gatekeepers | Fri 19 Jun, 7pm | Tickets: £5/£3 | More info/book now

Making the final weekend of the exhibition, this performance builds upon Baldock's installation, drawing upon its themes of medieval folklore and storytelling.



Facecrime is commissioned by Camden Arts Centre with Tramway. The work was developed through the Freelands Lomax Ceramics Fellowship and is funded by the Freelands Foundation. The 2020 installation at Bluecoat is supported by the Henry Moore Foundation. 

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