Islands: Josephine Baker

22 September - 14 October 2019

In Josephine Baker’s installation at Kupfer, a series of interconnected islands, cut off from their mainland supply chains, are quickly running out of resources. In their attempt to create a new microclimate through sympoiesis, its occupants have stopped killing each other, and other forms of dependency have begun to emerge. The pyramid of need is being inverted. Water is overtaking the price of oil. Everything is becoming precious, and incalculable.


The islands are a physical metaphor for how the natural earth is represented in a capitalocentric world. They are landscapes constructed by the human imagination, based on one objective: total harmony. Made from preformed ponds, trellises, shed roofs, and other gardening and landscaping materials, they occupy the overlap between the earth’s cyclical processes and its anthropic (mis)interpretations. Founded on separation, the islands continually strive toward their unity, yet they remain dispersed, imagined – almost out of existence. They are a bad story, badly retold. Paradise, overridden.


Josephine Baker (b. 1990, London) graduated from the Royal Academy Schools in 2017. In 2017–18 she was a 12-month resident award holder at the British School at Rome (Sainsbury Scholar in Painting and Sculpture), and was shortlisted for this year’s Mark Tanner Sculpture Award. Recent exhibitions include: Correction, Tintype, London, 2019; Drawing Biennial, Drawing Room, London 2019; Sheltering Sky, GAO gallery, London, 2019; Flood-tide, Love Unlimited, Glasgow, 2018; Trout Steel, The Horse Hospital, London 2018; Serpent and Shadow, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 2018; Terraforms, The Project Space, Bermondsey, 2018; and Night Music, British School at Rome, 2018.


Please click here to read an interview with the artist.