Daniel Baker

The New Gilt

February 10 to April 13

Vernissage on Saturday, February 9 from 19:00 - 21:00

FEINKOST is pleased to present the first solo exhibition in Germany of English Romani artist Daniel Baker. With recent work from “Paradise Lost: The First Roma Pavilion” at the 52nd Venice Biennale and newly created painting and sculpture from London, the show surveys the different examples of Baker’s use of reverse glass painting. Operating on a variety of scales, Baker tests the technical limits of the medium and the manner in which the works are read.
Growing up in an English Traveler community, the artist’s self-reflexive employment of influence from his English Romani or Gypsy background is used to update the vocabulary around which Roma culture is seen and spoken about. Both his approach and the outcome function as a mirror presenting the stereotypes that such a background and its reference evokes from a viewer. The space between the spectator and the object exposes the discrepancies among projected desire and the reality of what could ultimately be termed a Roma aesthetic. Exorcism of the normally negative term “Gypsy” becomes its renaissance as Baker’s practice creates a formal language of artmaking in an area often grouped within outsider or craft categories.
In his “looking glass” series Baker infuses Perspex and glass with a decrepit bling of gold veneer and the tarnished stain of simulated use, framing his renderings of fauvist icons and meticulously brutal marks. The artist’s technique deceptively builds upon layers, mirrors and found artifacts that date them to an arcane and vintage place – “The New Gilt” references a fresh coat of gold leaf. Like drawing, where the mark is unforgivingly permanent, each work clearly describes its own making through the methodical layering of surface and design. In many cases the art object has been fashioned to take on a use-value beyond an optical service, hosting an array of symbols that turn a handmade mirror into a storytelling device.
Baker has explored this common practice applied to possessions in English Traveler communities whereby household objects are corrected, modified or personalized with a particular visual language to combine an imposed sensibility with the object’s purpose. He refers to this tendency as “the role of ‘use’ as content as well as function”. This 5-year survey merges multiple points of view into the painted surface.
Daniel Baker lives and works in London where he is currently finishing a PhD in painting at the Royal College of Art. Some recent exhibitions from 2007 include “Paradise Lost: The First Roma Pavilion” and “Refusing Exclusion” at Prague Biennale3.
For more information please contact Aaron Moulton at info@galeriefeinkost.com or +49 (0) 172 184 9732.