Baptiste César

Editor : Est-Nord-Est, résidence d'artistes
Year : 2019
Pages : n.p.
Language : French / English

Artist and author

Baptiste César

For Baptiste César, ideas arise from his immersion in a given context. Sensitive to landscapes and the people who inhabit them, his first move is to explore his environs: through strolling, observing, gleaning, and meeting people, he nourishes his multidisciplinary practice that is expressed in drawing, sculpture, installation, and performance. Through his research, he discovers materials, tools, and expertise through which he will conceive a project related to the site that hosts him. So, his projects are situated well beyond the worked object, as his approach involves a sincere exchange with the community.

During his residency, Baptiste engaged in an ambitious project: a floating sculpture in the form of a raft in the middle of which a tree rose. To produce his piece, he used recovered materials, which he rehabilitated. By sanding, polishing, and varnishing barn wood and other recycled tree species, he created marquetry to form the base of the raft. The tree rooted in its centre was made of an assemblage of old fence pickets. In a figure both graphic and organic, the wood serving as elements in the built form was shifted to return to its original form. Through a combination of artisanal techniques and machined processes, Baptiste referred to the specificity of the context hosting him, in which tradition and contemporary art reciprocally influence each other.

This metaphor for a return to an initial natural condition reflects the principles of a circular economy in which reuse and recycling serve as an engine for change. By reusing typical fragments of a local rural architecture, Baptiste inscribed his project in the landscape and proposed a poetic reading of it. When it is finally allowed to sink, the raft will follow an uncertain path, subjected to the force of the tides – an image perhaps evoking the inevitable power of the elements over human structures.