Mise à l'eau d'un radeau sur la rive du Saint-Laurent par Baptiste César
Baptiste César, Mise à l'eau de l'Hexathuya sur la rive du Saint-Laurent, 2019. Photo: ENE/Jean-Sébastien Veilleux photographe

Baptiste César

Artist / Summer 2019


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.


Baptiste César is a French visual artist who lives in Paris. His work takes various paths. Whether it is through installation, sculpture, drawing, painting, video, performance, or writing, he tries to poetically address his environment by producing a message that is both intimate and universal. Interested in architectural and historical conditions of a particular place, he often interacts in situ, using urban or natural forms. Through his art practice, he takes on the limits of common sense, the poetry of the everyday, gestural boldness, and a spirit of adventure in the public space. In 2018, he participated in the 17th Nuit Blanche and the 63rd Salon de Montrouge and exhibited his work at the Maif Social Club in Paris.