Cedar Lewisohn is the second invited artist in our IN HOUSE series of collaborations between the House of Sarah Baker and artists, illustrators and designers. IN HOUSE invites visual creatives to take over the brand's Instagram channel with their personal, bespoke responses to our fragrances.
Cedar Lewisohn is a respected British artist, curator and writer who originally trained as a sculptor at Camberwell College of Arts in London. He later undertook a residency at the Jan Van Eyck Academie in Maastricht, a postgraduate institute renowned for its practice-based artists’ research programmes.
Cedar’s project for IN HOUSE comprises a duo of linocuts responding to the brand. Cedar has created these in line with a current aspect of his artistic practice. Writing and text of various forms and lengths has long been a feature of his artistic practice. More recently he has been focussing on writing very short pieces of text; aphorisms or simply people’s names. In transposing them into his own particular handwriting and then creating lino or woodcuts from this writing, they become a manifestation of poetics. In the case of the works he has created using the names of his friends, a form of “poetic portrait”.
"Greek Keys perfume by Sarah Baker is also a favourite of my partner Patty, so we share it, which I also really like."
Highly conscious that he is not a trained printmaker, the rough, overtly handmade aspect of these prints made using some of the most basic and ancient of printmaking techniques is foregrounded—the prints may not line up, be unevenly inked or faded. The sense of entropy and conspicuous lack of technical perfection heightens the immediacy of the poetics, giving both a sense of the living moment and a from-the-hip human artistic gesture.
One of the prints in the duo features Sarah Baker’s name. This is very much in line with the prints of friends’ names he has created as gifts for those close to him. But, here it acquires arguably even more complex meaning: on one hand it is the name of a friend, but it is also the name of her brand. Not so much a critique of branding, it nonetheless becomes an inherent visual pun.
The second, Greek Keys, perhaps teases out this notion of poetics and poetry as a visual manifestation even more directly. After all, for the House of Sarah Baker, with its ethos of storytelling, what else are the names of the fragrances if not poetics?
Yet, in this case, it isn’t purely about poetics. A longstanding fan of the house’s fragrances, Cedar opted to respond to Greek Keys specifically because it’s one of his personal favourites. He explained what he likes about it: “I love the freshness, that citrus. But, it’s also a favourite of my partner Patty, so we share it, which I also really like. And, I really think it smells good on me.”
Furthermore, the visual aesthetics of these works are very much in keeping with Cedar’s long established artistic practice that “joins the dots” between popular cultural forms and so-called “high culture”. Eschewing the snobbery of elitist artistic positions in favour of accessible art that welcomes the broadest audiences, his practice should never be mistaken for simplistic. Sure, graffiti, street art and popular music cultures are very much visible. But, look more closely and you’ll see that references to modernism, German Expressionism, the Golden Age of Benin culture or postcolonial theory are just as likely part of the discourse of individual works.
Cedar Lewisohn has shown work at respected galleries, fairs and institutions including Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge; CCA Andtrax, Mallorca; Maribor Art Gallery; Maribor and the1st Tirana Biennale, Tirana, among others. He has had solo exhibitions at Exeter Phoenix, Exeter; Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht; and the Saatchi Gallery, London, among others.
Cedar has worked on projects for institutions such as Tate Britain, Tate Modern, Birmingham Museums, the Southbank Centre and The British Council. He was the curator of the project Outside The Cube for HangarBicocca Foundation in Milan. He curated The Museum of London’s Dub London project and, in 2020, was appointed as curator of Site Design for The Southbank Centre, London.
He has published three books (Street Art, Tate 2008, Abstract Graffiti, Marrell, 2011, The Marduk Prophecy, Slimvolume, 2020). He has also edited and self-published numerous other publications.
To learn more about Cedar and his work, visit his website here.
Curator text: Ken Pratt
Keep an eye on our Instagram channel: the next 3 artists are already creating their own works inspired by the house. We're doing it IN HOUSE.