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About

 

“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 occasion - physically. Few are so incisive and insightful.” Alun Graves, Senior Curator of the Ceramics and Glass Collection at the V&A. 

 

From the witty cultural critique that characterised the early porcelain figurines to the more recent social commentary of installations and drawings, Barnaby Barford uses familiar iconography to subvert the telling of ancient cautionary tales within a contemporary context. His research explores the fundamental questions driving human nature in terms of morality, conflict between good or evil, lack of happiness, and society's incessant need for growth.


Although Barford produces work in a wide variety of materials, he consistently returns to ceramics, utilising mass and industrial production processes. From the monumental sculptures composed of thousands of individual ceramic pieces to the large-scale energetic word drawings that repeat incessantly the same word, his pieces are a labour intensive accumulation of fragments that gain meaning in their totality.


Barford is best known for The Tower of Babel (2015), a monumental 6.5m tall tower, created for the V&A in London. The installation comprised of 3000 bone china buildings, each depicting an actual unique London shop that was offered for sale. Prices of the shops rose in relation to their position on the tower, prompting people to confront where they fitted into London’s hierarchy of consumption.

 

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Barnaby Barford’s work has been exhibited internationally with 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 has received 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.