The main installation contained 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.
Jonathan Baldock, Facecrime, solo exhibition, Camden Arts Centre, London,2019. Courtesy the artist and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London. Photo: Luke Walker.
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 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.