Sarah Baker: Silk Vessel

11 May – 7 July 2017

Sarah Baker has created an installation in the 16 metre Perimeter Space in the style and aspirational aesthetics of a nautical themed luxury silk scarf.

Silk Vessel 

Sarah Baker's exhibition at Griffin Gallery’s Perimeter Space utilises rope and chain motifs associated with aspirational nautical themes found in yachts and sailboats of the rich and famous. A red 'Greek-Keys' pattern runs on the inside the wall of the Perimeter Space, and a band of navy blue forms a block of colour under the Greek-Keys separated by stylish, yet simple, red lines. The Perimeter Space is a 16m long window project space backing on to the Griffin Gallery in West London, and it is this setting which becomes the stage for Baker's gold logo and branded patterns.

Sporadically placed along the windows are gold 'Sarah Bakers', the same logo designed for her perfume range. Sarah Baker Perfumes (Leopard, Greek Keys, Lace and Tartan) have been carefully manufactured in collaboration with reputable perfumers, transporting us to this world of luxury once more, which Sarah Baker makes accessible by crossing divides between VIP's and the 'every(wo)man'.

Baker’s windows display of nautical cream ropes and peach coloured chains creates a 3D effect of foreground and background; with the two pillars and a large ceiling pipe  - part of the gallery architecture  - adding to the nautical theme. These designs recall fictions of this imaginary vessel, from the search of ambergris, a highly valuable substance made of whale vomit that is used as an ingredient in perfume, to whaling boat sailors who would sing shantys during hard labor, rhythmically pulling ropes at certain lyrical prompts.*

The ropes and chains set against navy blue, red and white, signifies a particular aesthetic associated with fashion and yachts, but also embedded values we may recognise, if not share.  Adding Baker's logo to this at alternate positions mimics that of a designer scarf, like, say, Hermes, and forces us to look at the elements that make up these patterns and how they come together to mean one thing and not another. The artist Sarah Baker takes this idea to another level as she herself becomes the brand, her signature turned into logo turned into gold necklace, turned into perfume. And it is exactly this holding up a mirror to the cult of luxury that makes the ‘Sarah Baker’ brand so desirable.

Karen David 2017


*Shantyman call: Our boots and clothes are all in pawn
Sailors respond: Go (pull) down ye blood red roses, go (pull) down.

And it’s mighty draughty around Cape Horn
Go (pull) down ye blood red roses, go (pull) down.

Oh ye pinks and posies
Go (pull) down ye blood red roses, go (pull) down.

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