Barnaby Barford is an artist who works primarily with ceramics to create narrative pieces. He is best known for his work with both mass-market and antique found porcelain figurines, cutting up and exchanging elements or adding to them and repainting them, to create sculptures which are often sinister and sardonic but invariably humorous. With irony, he draws a portrait of our contemporary lives.
Through his works, Barford explores all aspects of our society. Following in the tradition of Hogarth, Chaucer, Dickens and Shakespeare; with a dark sense of English humour and satire, Barford’s work explores and celebrates the human condition. Over the last few years his practice has developed and his last exhibition ‘The Seven Deadly Sins’ saw him breaking new ground making large scale ceramic sculpture exploring sin in our contemporary world and its association with the breakdown in community.
Barnaby Barford (b. 1977) graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2002. He has shown his work internationally. He has been the subject of several solo exhibitions in the UK and most recently has had a solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Virginia, USA. His work is part of both public and private collections. He is currently represented by David Gill Galleries, St James’ London. Barford has worked with museum commissions, private commissions and most recently for Louis Vuitton.
Alun Graves, Senior Curator of the Ceramics and Glass Collection at the V&A says, “Barford is brilliantly puckish, and something of an agent provocateur. By seduction and guile, his work exposes our inner frailties, prejudices and desires, holding up a mirror to us both metaphorically as well - on occassion - physically. Few are so incisive and insightful.”
Journalist Caroline Roux, says, “Barford’s work always has an instant likeability which serves, at first, to hide its darkness or political position. But there’s always something sinister going on beneath the surface.”
His work, through it’s incisiveness, beauty and humour has the rare ability to speak and engage with a broad section of people from many different backgrounds.
Barnaby Barford has also directed a unique film based on his highly acclaimed artwork made from ceramic figurines for Animate Projects which was broadcast on Channel 4 in September 2008. Damaged Goods is a tragic love story played out by porcelain figurines. It explores notions of forbidden love, material wealth and class divides using the traditions of value within ceramics. This touching film was commissioned by Animate Projects and funded by Arts Council England and Channel4.
British ceramicist Barnaby Barford has been reassigning values to cheap, unwanted crockery or mass-produced porcelain figurines since graduating from the Royal College of Art in 2002 — slicing, painting and rearranging these objects to create new narrative frameworks, and all underpinned with a dark sense of humour that usually finds itself unlocked in the works titling. ‘Well I Think He’s Done A Cracking Job’ is of a series of works from 2008 employing mirrors and a single centred female form repainted in enamel, her head transplanted to that of a white poodle as she poses and “examines” the surreal transformation.
unique; porcelain, enamel paint, bone china, mirrored glass
From AN IMPORTANT NEW YORK INTERIOR DESIGNED BY FRANCIS SULTANA