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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).
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
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…
The labyrinth has served throughout centuries as a symbol marking the centre of the world as well as a metaphor for the city. Rome, Troy, Jerusalem, Arab cities’ souks, Paris and her Catacombs… I continue this tradition and build upon it. However, although the myths that depict the labyrinths generally refer to long-lost civilisations, the world I portray is often set in a distant future, a possible result of the sum of the choices made by modern societies. Depraved cities and post-humans are usually its central character.
In my series Derelict / Black, I try to address the impact of human decisions on our lives and our environment. Social and political missteps, careless urbanisation at the expense of nature, blind consumerism… My drawings embody our delusions into a metaphoric confrontation between forsaken cities and a black plague of unknown origin. The lines I draw unfurl into mazes that restructure familiar territories, from which a surreal and forlorn universe emerges.
I have recently been working on a series of portraits that depict the posthumans sheltered in my desolated cities. Foreseeing societies that have achieved a certain level of transhumanism, I envisage the merging of networks and people self-diluting into a maze of data and information. Post-humans roam through rubble of concrete and steel, and wander the virtual vastitude fearing its ubiquity.
Ruined cities hiding forsaken societies might sound a pessimistic vision of our world, but actually I do not interpret it as such. I see it as a form of catharsis and as a catalyst to a new consciousness of the catastrophic environmental and moral trajectories that leaders around the world now seem to set us on with reckless abandon.