Sarah Baker is currently showing a new art work made in collaboration with Andy Hsu in an independently curated show at Galería Fermay in Palma de Mallorca in the Spanish Balearic Islands.
Long before Sarah founded her fragrance house, she was an established contemporary artist—we don’t say we're an artist-run brand without good cause—so we’ve asked the curator of the ‘True North’ exhibition to explain.
Ken Pratt is an established curator and creative director who has created numerous exhibitions for institutions internationally including the Whitechapel Gallery, London; Stedelijk Museum, Den Bosch; MAMA, Rotterdam; The Wallace Collection, London, City Museums of Ljubljana, Slovenia and Kunstlaboratorium Vestfossen, Norway, among various others. He has also contributed to essays to publications for The Prada Foundation, Milan; M HKA, Antwerp; Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin; MAMA, Rotterdam and Parasol Unit, London, among others.
Ken had this to say: “Sarah is an artist whose work has long interested me, the segue into fragrance just as much. I’ve shown her work in various exhibitions and projects over the years. I already knew the moving story behind her creating G Clef as a nose and the special artist’s edition she was creating for it.
“So, we got to talking about it while the seed of ‘True North’ was bubbling about in my brain. Though I’ve worked more directly with Sarah as an artist than her husband Andy Hsu, I really admire his work. And, in knocking about ideas, it seemed a no-brainer. I asked if they could imagine taking the ‘C Sound in G Clef’ edition they were working on and evolve it into a larger sculpture work for the show in Mallorca. The result was the sculpture ‘Departed Sea Saw’ that's in the exhibition.
“It's is an interactive sculpture where visitors to the gallery are invited to sample the fragrance. It combines the Arte Povera idea of “poor materials” with rich materials, such as the brass on the horizontal—treated with perfume and sea salt to achieve this sea-weathered effect.
“When you pick up the bottle of fragrance from this little wooden part of the sculpture—it looks like a ship—to sample it on these little fragrance strips they’ve made especially, it rocks and plays a music box-style version of ‘Beyond the Sea’. I confess tears run at that point for me. I’m old enough to remember this song from my parents’ generation. Combined with the very specific olfactory appreciation of her father in the fragrance itself, yeah, I well up. The work has an elegiac, poetic quality to it, made all the more powerful through scent.
“Sarah and Andy’s sculpture is very much about the sea and also dials back to my exhibition’s preoccupations such as the way the sea, vast oceans even, have been so central in how stories, cultures and ideas were transported around the world since ancient times.”
Those sampling the fragrance—clearly labelled as G Clef on the sculpture— experience citrus, woody fougére notes, grapefruit, jasmine, bergamot, lavender, calone, oakmoss, coumarin and amber. The G Clef eau de parfum is inspired by memories of Sarah's nights out together with her dad, visiting jazz clubs on San Francisco’s waterfront or the scents remembered from days out along the Northern California coast.
A discrete website about the artists in the show and the curator's essay are published at True North Project.
'True North’ 3-Pack
Coinciding with the exhibition, the house has also released True North, the latest in their in SELECTED series of occasional 3 x 2ml mini-discovery sets curated around a specific theme. For ‘True North’, named for the exhibition, Sarah worked with curator Ken Pratt to select three fragrances that engage with the themes of the show. They are G Clef, Tartan and Atlante.
G Clef, the eau de parfum from the S.BAKER Collection featured in the new art work, is available as a 50ml bottle via our website and from selected stockists.