Jonathan Baldock Exhibited at The Saatchi Gallery

Jonathan Baldock


Salt-dough, pins,ribbon, dolls eyes, polystyrene, colouring, paint, synthetic hair

29 x 42 x 26 cm plinth 121 x 42 x 26
How Jonathan Baldock goes about making his sculptures is a little unorthodox to say the least. Looking for a cheap substitute for clay that didn’t require the cumbersome processes of a kiln, Baldock returned to his roots and adopted a technique he learned, not in the hallowed halls of the Royal College, but in Sunday school. Each of his sculptures, which could easily be mistaken for fine porcelain or ceramic, are in fact made from a play-dough mixture of flour, salt, and water. Baldock begins each piece by sculpting a head, and then lets it dry in front of his radiator (they won’t fit in his oven!) before adding the details in successive layers; their rich matt hues that would be the envy of Wedgwood are derived from food colouring which he mixes into the dough at the kneading stage.
Jonathan Baldock


Salt-dough, pins,ribbon, dolls eyes, polystyrene, colouring, paint, synthetic hair

22 x 34 x 34cm plinth: 134 x 24 x 24 cm

Baldock uses this elaborately rudimentary technique to explore a contemporary kind of ‘primitivism’. Looking at different cultures from all over the world, his figures are adorned with all manner of exotica - florets and bijoux, armour plates and masks - and speak of tribal rituals and tortures all the while proclaiming distinct Englishness. The overall effect is one of fiercely unnerving nobility: a quasi Jane Austen meets Wicker Man. Titled after a nagging lovelorn wife whose husband has strayed in Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors, Baldock’s Adriana, wearing her heart on her brow and with a tear spilling from her eye, becomes something of a coquettish monstrosity. Bejewelled with savage markings made regally chintz, she’s made up to the nines with pleasing ‘win-back’ cosmetics, all begging dolly eyes, cuckold clown nose, and rouged gaping mouth firmly tied shut.

Jonathan Baldock
Androgny (Bearded)


Salt-dough, pins,ribbon, dolls eyes, polystyrene, colouring, paint, synthetic hair

20 x 35 x 28 cm plinth 106 x 18 x 18 cm
Baldock’s busts are inspired by the rigid imperial poses of classical Greek and Roman sculptures. Baldock uses this stylised and commanding format as a foundation on which to layer a myriad of cross-cultural and gendered references. His portraits are always modelled on white male features – an archetypal generic – that when ornamented become flirtatiously androgynous. For Baldock this desexualisation becomes a matter of fetish’s fashion. In his process of working, dough becomes both body and its mortification: sticky, wet, heavy, and suffocating. It’s beaten and pummelled in a ritual of embodiment, purification, and preservation. As Baldock explains, “It’s not only beauty, it’s about playing with perceptions of materiality.”
Jonathan Baldock
Betty Crocker (I Miss You)


Salt-dough, pins,ribbon, dolls eyes, polystyrene, colouring, paint, synthetic hair

22 x 34 x34cm plinth 130 x 24 x 24 cm
Baldock doesn’t begin each work with a preconceived idea about its final form; his sculptures are developed through their material manipulation, with the initial workings of the dough suggesting a possible character for embellishment. Betty Crocker (I Miss You) is an homage to the world’s favourite baker. Far from the many glamorous housewife faces the brand has presented over the years, Baldock’s rendition of the fabled Mrs. Crocker is by far more hilariously apt: an aging and cracking bulwark of a woman, with make-up literally caked on with icing-piped decoration, she’s the manifestation of one of her own easy-mix recipes that never quite look as good in real life as they do on the box.
Jonathan Baldock
Lost For Words


Salt dough, synthetic hair, dolls eyes and mixed media

32 x 21 x 25 cm plinth 93 x 19.5 x 19.5 cm

In their craftsmanship, Baldock’s portraits are simply exquisite. Lost For Words resolves as a true English rose, with aristocrat nose and virginal complexion, literally made from powder. The figure is crowned with actual hair extensions, and the eyes are glass replicas taken from a life-sized doll. Baldock often combines ‘real’ elements with his floury base to give his characters a sense of uncanny veritas. Drawing from the fanciful frights of Victorian gothic romance novels, it’s as if a fair maiden is mummified or bewitched, muzzled and frozen for all eternity. Baldock places the sculpture on a chipboard plinth; this both accentuates his humble making processes and gives the suggestion of sawdust or straw, setting his haunting characters in the realm of rural folklore and its anxious idyll of well-kept secrets.

Other artists in

Caroline Achaintre    Tasha Amini    Hurvin Anderson    Maurizio Anzeri    Jonathan Baldock    Anna Barriball    Steve Bishop    Karla Black    Lyn. Yiadom Boakye    Pablo Bronstein    Alan Brooks    Peter Linde Busk    Carla Busuttil    Nicholas Byrne    Gareth Cadwallader    Juliana Cerqueira Leite    Spartacus Chetwynd    Steven Claydon    Clarisse d'Arcimoles    William Daniels    Matthew Darbyshire    Graham Durward    Tim Ellis    Tom Ellis    Richard Evans    Tessa Farmer    Marcus Foster    Robert Fry    Ximena Garrido-Lecca    Jaime Gili    Nick Goss    Luke Gottelier    Kate Groobey    Anthea Hamilton    Anne Hardy    Gabriel Hartley    Nicholas Hatfull    Iain Hetherington    Alexander Hoda    Sigrid Holmwood    James Howard    Graham Hudson    Dean Hughes    Des Hughes    Mustafa Hulusi    Paul Johnson    Edward Kay    Idris Khan    Scott King    Ansel Krut    littlewhitehead    Christina Mackie    Alastair Mackinven    Goshka Macuga    Ryan Mosley    Rupert Norfolk    Arif Ozakca    Mark Pearson    Dan Perfect    Peter Peri    Olivia Plender    Henrijs Preiss    Ged Quinn    Clunie Reid    Barry Reigate    Luke Rudolf    Maaike Schoorel    Daniel Silver    David Brian Smith    Renee So    Fergal Stapleton    Clare Stephenson    Systems House    Caragh Thuring    Phoebe Unwin    Donald Urquhart    Jonathan Wateridge    John Wynne    Toby Ziegler

Jonathan Baldock's Biography

Jonathan Baldock
Born in 1980, Pembury, UK
Lives and works in London


The Fool’s Flipside, Cell Projects, London (UK)

Ennui, Backlit Studios, Nottingham
H.E, FAS London

No 2, Meals and SUVs, London


Props, Events & Encounters; Theatricality in Contemporary Sculpture, The Hub, Athens (Greece)
Boyfriend Material (organised by LIANGWEST and Prem Sahib), London (UK)
Hierarchies of Allegiance, The Royal Standard, Liverpool, (UK)
Pile (curated by Craig Fischer) Nottingham (UK)
SV10 (Selected by Jennifer Higgie and Rebecca Warren), Studio Voltaire, London (UK)
Negotiable Values, 501 Arts Space, Chongqing (China)
NEWSPEAK; British Art Now, Saatchi Gallery, London (UK)

Stranger Things are Happening, Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth
Aoife Collins & Jonathan Baldock, Ganghut, SSW, Aberdeenshire
Memories and Encounters, Viafarini, Milan
O / A Stiff New Speak: Bandeau (Curated by Nicholas Byrne and Gareth Bell Jones),
Tricycle Arts Centre, Kilburn, London
Straylight Cavern, Cell Project Space, London
Group Show TC Open, Turner Contemporary, Margate
British Art Now, Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg

Straylight Cavern, Cooper Gallery, Duncan & Jordanstone School of Art, Dundee, Scotland
From Panic to Power, Angstrom Gallery, Los Angeles
The Brotherhood of Subterreanea, (organised by Ben Judd), Kunstbunker Nuremberg
Wassail, Cell Project Space, London

Lady Holic, Rod Barton Invites, London
Group, W.S. Bartletts, London
Frou Frou Foxes in Midsummer Fires, Colony Gallery, Birmingham

First, Last and Always, Axis Arts Centre Dublin
Through The Large Glass, Three Colts Gallery London
World Cup, 39, London
Baroque My World, Transition Gallery, London
Milk Before Tea, Tara Bryan Gallery, London
Hollow Salon, Hollow Contemporary, London

All At Once, Together, At the Same Time; Colony Gallery, Birmingham
Anthea Hamilton, Adam Latham, Jonathan Baldock, I-cabin; London
Invasion’s Of Piquancy; Kenny Schacter ROVE, London
SV05 (Selected by Enrico David and Cathrine Wood), Studio Voltaire, London
Painting MA show; RCA, Kensington Gore, London
Redundancy; Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth, Hants
Shabu Frabu, 007 Hollybush Gardens, London

A Sharpe Intake of Breathe; Beldam Gallery, Uxbridge
Painting Interim Show, RCA, Kensington Gore, London
Chamber Pot Now; Chambers Gallery, 21 long lane, London
Art School; Bloomberg Space, Finsbury Square, London
Man Group Drawing Prize, RCA, Kensington Gore, London