About this work Josephine Baker’s chalk drawings describe landscapes which reside between the physical and the emotional, often allegorising the materialities that make up her sculptures and installations. Their diagrammatic...
Josephine Baker’s chalk drawings describe landscapes which reside between the physical and the emotional, often allegorising the materialities that make up her sculptures and installations. Their diagrammatic quality visualises the process of ideas being thought through, or put to the test. But in their attempt to circumscribe the contradictions of the world, they end up being pulled into the quicksand of those very same contradictions.
These two drawings available through Kupfer were made during Baker’s residence at the British School at Rome, where she was Sainsbury Scholar in Painting and Sculpture 2017–18. In Let it all come down 3, symbols of abundance and scarcity, reoccurring in Baker’s practice, are woven into one another. Cracks suggesting dried-up ground are framed by a structure mimicking the shape of Rome’s distinctive interlocking curb slabs. A repeated water droplet symbol interrupts the surface, but appears to have been split apart as well, staggered across the landscape. Each line gives form to some sort of connectedness: the muddiness of the in-between, the earth beyond the either/or. Baker’s use of the visual cues of chance and risk in Blame game are emblematic of her interest in patterns of causality. Smoke drifts and light burns out of the numbers on dice, stacked like rooms with circular windows in a geometrical haze of Escher-like impossibility. The sources of the fire and smoke within this disorienting architecture is confounding: they emanate out separately from one another, as if confronting the claim of the phrase ‘There’s no smoke without fire.’
About the artist
Josephine Baker (born 1990, London) works through sculpture, installation, drawing, and poetry. She completed her postgraduate at the Royal Academy Schools in 2017. Using readily-available building and landscaping materials, she composes physical metaphors for how the natural earth is represented in a capitalocentric world. Factory standardised and processed almost beyond recognition, Baker forms these materials into signifiers of the enforced distancing of ‘nature’ from ‘culture’ in today’s markets and urban topographies. In invented languages of reconciliation, different materials and forms allegorise events to each other. They create microclimates of dependency and exchange, and tell stories of labour and survival which unearth the histories of what (and where) their sources are, and the processes they have undergone.