FEINKOST is pleased to present its second exhibition of London-based artist Daniel Baker entitled “Suspect”. “Suspect” brings together two new bodies of work and a site-specific intervention using the gallery façade.
Daniel Baker’s practice involves a conceptual usage of his English Gypsy heritage via a rigorous exploration of the antiquated technique of “reverse glass painting”. The resulting paintings shift between a colorfully defaced graffiti of rotten bling and craft that moves towards dry but incisive conceptual compositions of inversive othering; each direction involving the backwards layering of painted motif and reflective gilding. Though dysfunctional as perfect mirrors the luminosity of these looking glasses elicits a primal desire of preciousness.
The exhibition title “Suspect” takes its name from a recently completed suite of 10 paintings. These works were inspired by Italy’s recent forced census of Gypsies within the country, a move by the Italian government aimed at diminishing forms of petty crime through racial profiling. As many Gypsies lead itinerant lifestyles they might lack a permanent address. The government decided fingerprinting of the minority to be the best alternative.
Due to the sinister implications Baker has responded by offering his own imprints rendered meticulously unto planes of Perspex. Each composition a decimal of self-portraiture, the abstract monochromes total to personify the very topography of Baker’s makeup as seen through his many loops and whorls. The subject straddles an ambiguous sense of universal humanity yet, as Baker himself states, “This tension between the general and the particular takes the work beyond cultural specificity of the Roma towards a broader questioning of the ways in which the political and the personal combine to implicate us all.”
The second body of work in the exhibition is a continuation of Baker’s signage practice. An obsession of fonts and phraseologies turns selected words into aural sculptures formed through enunciation, their meaning derealized via repetition. Mirrored words such as “Suspect”, “sdrawkcaB”, “No Entry” and “Private” denote imperatives of where we belong and where we don’t, appropriating the exclusionary sloganeering towards Traveller communities and their ostracization from the societies they live within or around. The mirror becomes that clichéd metaphor of itself. We see a work that speaks to us, maybe about us as it reflects our image within. Suddenly we become implicated within the composition, the content, the medium and the message as a potential subject, as much protagonist as antihero.
Daniel Baker gained international attention at the 52nd Venice Biennale in “Paradise Lost: The First Roma Pavilion”. In 2009 Daniel Baker’s work could be seen in group exhibitions at the Contemporary Art Center Montehermoso; the MACRO in Vigo, Spain; the American Academy in Rome; Timothy Taylor Gallery, London; Royal College of Art, London; and Brown, London. His paintings can be found in collections across Europe and America. For any questions, images or further information please contact Aaron Moulton at firstname.lastname@example.org.