Jonathan Baldock, 'Nature to be commanded must be obeyed', 2019. Courtesy Stephen Friedman Gallery, London
I’m Still Learning is the title of the third show of An Involuntary Trace, the cycle curated by This is Jackalope during 2021.
Artist Jonathan Baldock transports us to a universe of healing through an experiential installation that pays tribute to the four (or five) elements of nature: earth, wind, fire, water (and ether). These he recreates using sculptural deities that roam around the exhibition stage. The stage is the centrepiece of the installation, representing the quintessence of things and making reference to the cycle of time as borne out by the seasons of the year.
Visitors entering the room are plunged into an experience of Baldock’s imaginarium, smelling, tasting, hearing and occupying another universe, perceiving another space-time dimension, reconnecting with the past to soothe their arduous present. Can we embark on an ecological revolution that allows us to make peace with the planet and at the same satisfy our needs as a species?
Jonathan Baldock (1980, Kent, England) lives and works in London. His work often takes on a biographical form, addressing topics such as trauma, stress, sensuality, mortality and the spirituality surrounding our relationship to our bodies and the space they inhabit. His work is full of humour and wit, and a weird, somewhat macabre quality which asserts itself through the artist’s interest in myth and folklore. His pieces focus their constant attention on the contrast between the material qualities of ceramics and fabrics. In his concern that the functional aspects of the materials he uses may disappear, Baldock works performatively through sets of sculptures, blending the viewer, the object and the space in which they both find themselves into a potential act of drama or ritual. His practice makes use of multiple platforms, including sculpture, installations and performance.
Some of his most important individual exhibitions are: Me, Myself and I (Kunsthall Stavanger, Norway, September 2020); Facecrime (suspect) (Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, July 2020); Facecrime (Camden Arts Centre, London, September 2019, subsequently travelling to Tramway, Glasgow, and Bluecoat, Liverpool). His work has also been shown this year at Towner International, the contemporary art biennial at the Towner Art Gallery (Eastbourne, UK). He has held other notable exhibitions at the De La Warr Pavilion (Bexhill, UK, 2017), the Grundy Art Gallery (Blackpool, UK, 2017), the Southwark Park Galleries (London, 2017), PEER (London, 2016), the Chapter Gallery (Cardiff, UK, 2016) and the Wysing Arts Centre (Cambridge, 2013).