Baptiste Tavernier, born 1981 in France, pursues a creative path that has led him from experimental music through the martial arts of Japan to the painter’s canvas.
Baptiste Tavernier studied at Paris University digital arts and musical composition under Anne Sedes, Horacio Vaggione and José Manuel López López. He took part in several avant-garde musical projects during those years and composed works such as Instants-Faisceaux or 10 Pièces Ephémères. He later released two albums with Japanese shakuhachi player, Sabu Orimo: Sphères (2009) and Kamakura Jūnisō (2012). Tavernier’s main musical influences are:
Baptiste Tavernier’s path took a dramatic virage in 2006 with the decision to move to Japan and immerse himself in martial arts. Within a decade, he reached high ranks in four disciplines of swordsmanship: naginata (halberd), tankendo (short sword), jukendo (bayonet) and battodo (sword drawing and cutting), studied several classical Japanese martial styles and achieved proficiency in the making and repair of kendo armor. He has written several articles for Japanese journals on the topic of martial arts and budō, and published a book on Miyamoto Musashi. He also studied for several years ikebana, Japanese flower arrangement, and monshō gaku, the Japanese heraldic design. As a (ongoing) side project, he created the kamon knowledge base www.thejapaneseheraldry.com.
In 2010, Baptiste Tavernier sought a fresh creative path and brush in hand, he started to experiment and mix his diverse set of skills onto the canvas…
Since the first images were daubed in ochre on cave walls at Lascaux, human beings have used familiar and significant forms as vehicles for artistic expression: the shapes of animals and humans, the intricacy of plant life, the contours of landscape, the pattern of stars in the night sky. From the perspectives directly available to them, they rendered these forms in any number of ways – simplifying, abstracting, hyper-realising and what-have-you.
For me, though, one particular fascination is another perspective that, not so long ago, we could only perceive by means of applied abstraction: the straight-down, eagle’s-eye view of our habitat. The result was immediately familiar and significant, but until man mastered flight and photography it took a lot of applied mathematics to make an accurate map. Today, of course, with tools like Google Earth and Apple Maps that give us satellite images at will, the perspective is no longer an abstraction, it’s photographic.
But my fascination with the applied skills of abstraction required by cartography endures nonetheless. And in my work it meshes with another fascination since childhood: labyrinths and mazes – which by definition must have a certain logic, a solution. So the starting point for my current work is that abstract perspective, the view from on high that was beyond the reach of landscape painters through the ages. Looking down at the world’s great cities, I’m intrigued by the logic of land and water and the maze-like patterns of human settlement. But going beyond simple cartography, I devise mathematically precise mazes that decode in a surreal way the world we live in.
The labyrinth has served throughout centuries as a symbol marking the centre of the world and a metaphor for the city. Roma, Troy, Jerusalem, Arab cities souks, Paris and her Catacombs… I continue this tradition and build upon it. The lines I draw unfurl into paths and walls that restructure those territories, from which emerges a surreal universe. Although the labyrinths myths generally refer to long-lost civilisations, the world I depict is often set in a distant future, a prospective result of the sum of modern societies choices. Depraved cities are usually its central character.
In my labyrinthine abstractions I try to address the impact of human decisions on our lives and our environment. Social and political erring ways, careless urbanisation at the expense of nature, blind consumerism, self-diluting wanderings into virtual spaces… I embody our delusions into metaphoric and sometimes satirical mazes.
My main corpus of works thus glimpses into the future, where ruined cities shelter forsaken societies. This might sound as a pessimistic vision of our world, but it is not. I see it in fact as a catharsis and a catalyst to a new consciousness about the environmental and moral catastrophic trajectories that leaders around the world now seem to follow.
Baptiste Tavernier’s Exhibitions
# Solo Exhibitions
To come: 2017-11; Erring Ways — Foreign Correspondant Club of Japan, Tokyo, Japan
2017-02; Past Corridors — Haohaus Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan
2015-02; Exploring Labyrinths – Gold – — Galleria Farina, Miami, USA.
2014-07; Mazes — Seikai Resort, Beppu, Japan.
# Group Exhibitions
To come: 2017-11; East Meets West — Yuan Ru Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan
2017-02; Apocalyptic nostalgia — Yuan Ru Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan
2016-01; Untitled — FM Gallery, Seoul, South Korea.
2015-07; Kosan no Kai — Lucite Gallery, Tokyo, Japan.
2015-04; 19th Salon Blanc International Exhibition of Contemporary Art — Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, Japan.
2014-12; Opposites Attract — Galleria Farina, Miami, USA.
# Art Fairs
To come: 2017-11; Art Square Taipei, Taiwan
2017-07; Art Santa Fe, USA
2017-05; Tokyo International Art Fair, Japan
2017-03; Art Central, Hong Kong
2016-12; Art Square Taipei, Taiwan
2016-09; Rotterdam International Art Fair, Netherlands
# Other Projects
2015-11; Not an Exit — Collaboration with poet Adam Soldofsky for 7×7.la
2012-10; Kamakura Juniso — With Orimo Sabu, Innerside Records, Japan
2009-03; Sphères — With Orimo Sabu and Matsushita Masumi, Innerside Records, Japan
2005-10; Espaces Sensibles — With Anne Sedes and Laurence Marthouret, Le Cube, Issy-les-Moulineaux, France
2005-01; Portées à l’Ecran — With Anne Sedes and Laurence Marthouret, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France