Conversation Piece Part III curator Marcello Smarrelli Jonathan Baldock’s (UK, 1980) multidisciplinary practice uses, painting, sculpture and evocative installations. He finds inspiration in the magical worlds of mythology, masks, tribal rituals and folkloristic traditions. In the sculptures-objects, as in the embroideries, the artist seems to recall classical motifs of the past, contaminated by particular disturbing elements, that are able to transform the figure into uncanny artefacts that remind us of distant cultures. On the occasion of Conversation Piece Part III, Baldock decided to focus on transforming elements of the human body into objects, leaving out the symbolic dimension of the fragmented body in the era of objectification. The wallhangings and sculptures realized for the exhibition are iconographically inspired by human body parts, in particular eyes and mouth, interpreted as are metaphorical doors capable of communicating with the inner parts of the body to the outside world, these being the main channels through which man feeds his mind and his body, but something dramatically appears and, as in a fairy tale, a forest of branches grows around the works preventing these vital organs to properly perform their functions.
The magical and religious aspects that characterise Baldock’s practice have been highlighted by the performance entitled Inhale/Inhabit, and realized in collaboration with Florence Peake, visual artist, dancer and choreographer. The performance, focused on the threshold and tension between objects and the moving body, by inhabiting and charging the spaces between works to form a liminal encounter. Florence Peake has embodied an imagined mythological character born from a cosmic oral portal to manipulate time, creating an archaic feeling of suspense and sensuality. Through ritualised tasks connected to the wallhangings and sculptures thus forming new abstract narratives to propose moments of refuge.