The Fox, 2016
Porcelain, foam, plastic, wood, enamelled copper wires, epoxy putty, steel base
H52 x L73 x D36 cm
Courtesy the artist and David Gill Gallery
The Fox is one of ten life-size ceramic animals at the centre of Barnaby Barford’s installation ME WANT NOW. The animals – including a tiger, bear and panther - are wild, majestic and hunted yet form a surprisingly orderly queue: a stance so incongruous they might only adopt this en route to slaughter. Indeed, in the next room, a series of ceramic Trophy Heads re-confirm the likely future awaiting the animals. Looming over them are Barford’s largescale, wall-hung Word Drawings: words - such as Power, Change and Hope – repeatedly inscribed until they warp and lose their meaning.
The installation is typical of Barford: his works question our desires, our beliefs and our place in society. Conceived during the lead up to the Brexit referendum, Barford describes ME WANT NOW as a metaphor for the British public. Under pressure to do more, have more and achieve more, the already anxious population becomes easily manipulated by political force; they hear once positive words repeated incessantly in the media and by politicians until those words become corrupt; and they queue not knowing their fate. Shattered porcelain Word Drawings form the animals’ bodies; perhaps the words have been restated so often they’ve seeped under their skin and changed their - our - DNA.
For more information see davidgillgallery.com
Hedge issue 52, pp78-83, November 2018