First featured in Hi-Fructose Vol. 8, and soon, our exhibition with Virgina MOCA in 2016, Barnaby Barford builds vignettes and installations out of found figurines that he cuts up and reassembles. The objects he uses for his materials are some that most people would dismiss in their original form, but Barford’s art makes them relevant and alluring. For his latest installation, “Tower of Babel”, the artist’s process began when he cycled over 1,000 miles to photograph facades from each of London’s postcodes. Specifically, what caught his eye were shops in the city of Stroke-on-Trent in England. 3,000 miniature bone-china replicas of those buildings make up his piece, modeled after the biblical Towel of Babel and created for the the Victoria and Albert Museum where it is currently on display. The tower is so extensive, in fact, that the museum has dedicated a daily blog to it, highlighting the individual pieces that went into creating it. At its base are neglected shops, culminating to London’s exclusive boutiques and galleries at its highest point. Standing at a massive 20 feet high, the tower is meant to be a representation of London today and a monument to commerce. Barford says, “This is London in all its retail glory, our city in the beginning of the 21st century and I’m asking, how does it make you feel?”
Barnaby Barford’s “Tower of Babel is currently on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London through November 1st.