THE PERPETUITY OF RUIN
23.06.17 - 03.07.17
Sol Bailey-Barker (b 1987) is a British multi-disciplinary artist working primarily with sculpture and performance. His works fuse historical and sociological research with an inquiry into the power and symbolism of materials, tools and everyday objects. Informed by archeology, geometry, mythology and a diverse range of contemporary and ancient spiritual practices, his work seeks to re-consider history from a non-colonial perspective.
Throughout Bailey-Barker’s life he has collected objects from natural and man-made environments. Varying from Neolithic tools to contemporary refuse, some have value historically, culturally, emotionally, whilst others are simply interesting for their form or materiality. These objects have been collected from house-clearances, mud-larking, found in wildernesses and junk yards. He is particularly fascinated by tools and the way they have been animated and revered over time.
Bailey-Barker refers to his findings as route objects as they inform his abstract sculptures, which in turn function as new sacred forms, taking on the mythic qualities of the objects they draw from. Each sculpture is born from a ritual: finding a route objects, excavating and observing, living with the object, categorising and assembling, extracting or imbuing narrative; resulting in an endless performance.
For example: 17th Century Pipe + flint arrowhead + goldfinch nest + axe once owned by the recently deceased Dr John Slome + crow skull + metal shard = sculpture number 88 (Peripheral Form).
Until recently the route objects behind Bailey-Barker’s practice have been concealed and sculptures have been exhibited without their corresponding equation of found objects. In THE PERPETUITY OF RUIN, Bailey-Barker reveals the equation behind his sculptural process, presenting an immersive installation and a new series of tapestries in which route objects are assembled, categorised and sewn onto canvas.
The objects amassed in these works include both certified antiques and fakes calling into question the importance of authenticity in historical relics. Does it matter if an antiquity is real if it points to a true notion of history? Can we identify the facsimile and the genuine? Is there an inherent quality specific to the real?
The works presented in this exhibition have been amalgamated over 20 years. Objects found in the artist’s childhood and previously cherished are displayed beside debris recently washed up on the banks of the River Thames. Hierarchy affiliated with value is discarded, emotional attachment sacrificed and the resulting tapestries become a means of presenting abstract yet meaningful information about form and the qualities of materials. Each object in these tapestries is a clue to a specific history but the jumbled, declassified presentation suggest other possibilities of history.
Through these works Bailey-Barker questions his own relationship to time and memory presenting the possibility of the co-existence of the past, present and future.
Sol Bailey-Barker MRBS (b 1987) studied Performance and Visual Art at Brighton Faculty of The Arts. His recent exhibitions include From Myth To Earth (funded by the Arts Council England) and Wyrd Then : Weird Now at The Koppel Project in London. In October 2017 he will be exhibiting at Galeria Impakto in Lima, Peru. In 2016 Bailey-Barker was invited to exhibit his monumental sculptures Forms Shaped Through Time in Holborn Circus (City of London). Bailey-Barker’s works are in both private and public collections including Riverhill Himalayan Sculpture Garden (Kent). In 2016 he was artist in residence at the OUTSET residency in Tel Aviv, in 2014 he was in residence at Lugar a Dudas in Cali, Colombia and Portico Di Romagna in Italy. He was shortlisted for the Brian Mercer Award in 2016 and selected for the first National Sculpture Symposium in 2014.
Bailey-Barker’s work has been featured in FAD, Avenir Magazine, After Nyne, This Is Tomorrow, Nomadic Press, Pocko, Guardian and recently in a documentary about his exhibition From Myth To Earth produced by Tariq Ali for TeleSur.
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