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 digital arts and musical composition at Paris University, and took part in several avant-garde musical projects during those years.
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 several modern Budō and classical fighting styles and achieved proficiency in the production and repair of Japanese armor. He has written several articles and books on the topic of martial arts and released two albums with Japanese shakuhachi player, Sabu Orimo: Sphèresand Kamakura Jūnisō. For several years he also studied ikebana, Japanese flower arrangement, and monshō gaku, the Japanese heraldic tradition.
In 2010, Baptiste Tavernier sought a fresh creative path and brush in hand, he started to experiment and mix his diverse set of skills on the canvas. His works now revolve mainly around the theme of mazes and labyrinths and have been exhibited internationally in North America, Europe and Asia since 2014.
The labyrinth has served throughout centuries as a symbol marking the centre of the world, as a metaphor for the human life or as a representation of 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 labyrinth generally refer to long-lost civilisations, I prefer to portray our modern world as I see it.
Mazes and labyrinths are constructs that parallel our existences. They are complex tangles of almost an infinity of trajectories, in a finite time/space frame. To err is human: bends and reversals, crosses and dead-ends, large arteries or oppressive corridors… It is a path of ordeals and hardships that unfurls according to our choices and decisions. It is also a place where evil lurks and can terminate the journey at any turn. When lines and life interpenetrate, the maze becomes the blueprint of an individuality.
During medieval times, the labyrinth had a unique centre, which symbolised the place where one would achieve enlightenment after the trials faced on the way in. Once enlightened, the pilgrim would find his way back out of the labyrinth on a serene path towards god. The whole figure was guiding one’s life and faith from birth to death. Now, I generally set multiple centres in my compositions since modern human existence has gained new and simultaneous alternative realities through the Internet and social networks. Life experience has grown more complex than ever and each of its iterations connects to the others on different levels through a variety of digital synapses. The different centres in my mazes are there to give us the hope that we can attain enlightenment on each and every plane of our existence.