“Baptiste Caccia is interested in the substance of the image and its relationship to painting.”
When I started to read articles by fellow artists, obviously esteemed, on the work of Baptiste Caccia, I was frightened. Invited to accompany this new exhibition with a text, discovering his work of painting mixed with silkscreen, I took distance from a referenced practice, marked by technical virtuosity, carrying a critical discourse on its own medium.
And I was afraid, then, of the impression that Baptiste Caccia’s practice was awaiting an expert from the confines of the pictorial to support it. What I am, unfortunately or on the contrary, not really.
We met with Baptiste on several occasions, in his two studios between the East of Paris and Montreuil, around the finished – and nearly finished – paintings that today compose T e imperfect cop .
He introduced me to his creative process, the selection of images among hundreds of others, pre-printed via uncertain inks and soaked in water, reproduced, reworked, painted, reworked again, in a ballet of palimpsests where one might seek the remains of a face, a text, a place.
Moreover, he spoke of his life, that of the preparation of the exhibition: the work in the silk-screening workshop, the trips back and forth between Paris and Montreuil, on his bike, with the canvases in one hand, in order to stretch them on frames in the larger space of the Orion tower. Baptiste also evoked his day job in signage at the Centre Pompidou, moments of inspiration that came from him or others and the pieces that are, in the end, perhaps unsuccessful. He spoke, above all, of the desire to inscribe his work, at a moment of potential formal maturity, not so much in a vertical filiation as in a horizontal one.
One could say of Baptiste Caccia’s work that it is situated in a formal lineage stemming from the post-war 20th century, that of pictorial collage, grappling with the possibility-risk of its reproduction: Robert Rauschenberg, Sigmar Polke, Raymond Hains perhaps. Yet, one would surely fail to notice what T e imperfect cop means as a step in the practice of Baptiste Caccia. Behind the rather virtuoso layers, elements taken from this day-to-day creation – glimpses of the studios, of the journeys, of the intimate, of the exhibitions at Beaubourg where he works, of a poem of a friend who speaks possibly about his work – as many tracks to explore:
T e imperfect cop may be a self-portrait in hollow.
T e imperfect cop may be a fragment of the life of a contemporary painter, the studio, the day job, the inspiration, the failure, the rebound.
T e imperfect cop may be the story of risk-taking, of a desire to leave an artificial refuge: an attempt not to end up, like the imaginary painter Frenhofer, charred by the fearsome search for technical perfection.
T e imperfect cop may be part of Baptiste Caccia’s desire to situate his painting in our era, and to seek his role as a painter in it.
Baptiste Caccia is interested in the substance of the image and its relationship with painting. Even more, nowadays, Baptiste Caccia is interested in the substance of his own and his relationship with painting.
One certainty: The copy is imperfect, and it doesn’t matter.
It is, in fact, an opportunity: in these nooks, these imperfections, so many interstices to imagine between these pieces and us the possibility of an encounter.