From the humorous cultural critique that characterized his early porcelain sculptures to the more recent social commentary through installations and drawings, Barnaby Barford uses recognizable iconography to subvert the narrative of ancient tales full of warning and advice, always bringing them into a contemporary context.
His research explores the ultimate questions which are the essence of human nature: morality, conflict between good or evil, lack of happiness, and society’s never-ending ambition.
Barford creates art pieces in a wide range of materials, however, something naturally draws him to ceramics, to the use of mass and industrial production processes.
He brings to life not only monumental sculptures composed of thousands of individual ceramic pieces, but also large-scale drawings which repeat the same word over and over again. All his artworks were born from dedication, passion and time, by collecting fragments to achieve completeness.
Barford’s best known work is The Tower of Babel (2015), a colossal 6.5m tall tower, created for the V&A in London. This installation included 3000 bone creating china buildings, each portraying a unique London shop that was offered for sale. Prices of the shops rose according to their position on the tower, encouraging people to understand or contest their place into London’s hierarchy of consumption.
Barnaby Barford’s masterpieces were already exhibited internationally in solo shows across Europe and the US, including a survey exhibition at MoCA Virginia (2013). Represented by David Gill Gallery in London since 2005, his work is part of public and private collections worldwide including The V&A in London and MoFA in Houston, Texas. He also collaborated in many prestigious commissions, including Louis Vuitton and a permanent public artwork in the London Borough of Waltham Forest. In 2016 Barford was awarded the Hospital Club’s h.Club 100 Award for Art, Design and Craft which celebrates the most influential and innovative people in the creative industries.
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