Facecrime is the first solo exhibition in Scotland by Jonathan Baldock (b. 1980) who works across multiple platforms including sculpture, installation and performance. Baldock has an ongoing interest in the contrast between the material qualities of ceramic and fabric, drawing them together in his theatrical installations and sculptural assemblages.
Facecrime is comprised of a series of ceramic columns inspired by the discovery, in 1974, of more than a thousand perfectly preserved clay tablets, inscribed in cuneiform - an early writing system - ca. 2500 BC, in the ancient city of Ebia, Syria. This exhibition pays homage to these extraordinary artefacts, developing an alternative history of clay as a tool of communication and a carrier of language that defiantly stands the test of time.
Drawing from histories of labour, folklore and storytelling, Baldock experiments with glass, basketry and spinning to highlight the decline of traditional making and skills lost due to technology. In his recent works, Baldock uses these traditional techniques to depict contemporary forms of communication, creating classical-digital hybrids which draw early human script into dialogue with the emoji, the fastest growing language.
Borrowing its title from George Orwell's dystopian novel, 1984, the exhibition evokes an absurd and unsettling contemporary ruin that the audience wander amongst as though discovering the signs and visual languages of a once prosperous civilization.
Facecrime was commissioned by Camden Arts Centre through the Freelands Lomax Ceramics Fellowship and in partnership with Tramway. Jonathan Baldock is represented by Stephen Friedman Gallery, London.
12 April–23 June 2019