"The course of time" by Leïla Simon, 2018
Jardin d’hiver, Jean-Baptiste Caron’s new exhibition at the gallery 22,48 m², sounds like a time of latency and distortion, where the invisible can suddenly be seen, the elusive can be captured and the improbable can unexpectedly happen. A furtive breath inspires the artist and breathes amazing transformations both in the works as the space that welcomes them. Jean-Baptiste Caron invests the gallery with an original set of installations, sculptures and paintings in which he explores the potential of the material in order to find new involved forces. The materials are of the most noble as marble to commoner such as concrete, used to translate a territory of the imperceptible. The air is the prey; permanent and pervasive, it remains a priori elusive. The artist sets up various stratagems based on appearances, evoking this invisible reality. The artist doesn’t necessarily play the role of a scientist or botanist. Rather, he appears as a fictional geologist, experiencing the real, using different techniques to find clues to the truth that he established himself. He cultivates a garden of shapes covered with factories and handicrafts, like a brownfield site or wasteland attributes. Rock, wax, iron and concrete translate this abandoned world while offering new metamorphoses. We are invited to pass through a space where entropy is no longer just a chaos, but becomes a fake field, an indefinite area in which originate volumes emerge to life. The purpose is perhaps to follow Gilgamesh – ancient Sumerian hero, author of the first story of our History – and to browse in his memory in an imaginary garden of precious stones, to fantasizing such epic to raise awareness of the human condition. Jean-Baptiste Caron’s works invite the viewer to reflect on the concept of time, his own and that of the world in which it operates. The cast iron used by the artist in order to freeze forever a human breath of air, can be seen as a clean mortal condition to our human determination. If the adamic fall remains inevitable, the artist avoids any representation and prefer to produce a « dance of life » in the implicit echo of the eponymous painting (1640) by Nicolas Poussin. This movement is not one that marks an end, but rather one which announces a variety of possibilities. The artist shows in that sense the destructive potential, but especially the potential of construction and transformation, specific to each entity. Jean-Baptiste Caron stands a ruined garden, and paradoxically under construction, a « pending place », almost in hibernation and yet animated by a disruptive breath. The latter, rustles in our ears, caress our faces and amazes our eyes when we discover the forms it produced, guided by the artist. He subtly changes our visual and haptic perception of the exhibition space. The gallery is transformed with « Jardin d’hiver » into a heterotopic space, the space of a localizable utopia and identifiable strategies. Michel Foucault spoke of a territory that in reality invited us to the development by the thought of a new world. It would remain unachievable, and yet, it would become an inspiring refuge, awakening the imagination. This heterotopia is therefore as a breeding place, virtual and real. No garden and no vegetation will cover the gallery. Rather, we propose visitors to imagine it between the works and through them, as a possible form, « like a carpet where the whole world comes to be accomplished » as Foucault pointed out. The garden remains here a shape in motion because it’s based on the course and the feelings of the viewer. The exhibition could just be an echo of an abandoned greenhouse, offered in the winter. This ruin is however a strategy of appearances, offering clues to glimpse the air and its absence.
"Winter garden", by Thomas Fort, 2015
Jean-Baptiste Caron takes for his own the poetry that every object, even the most insignificant, carries within it, in order to work from it. From very simple elements - dust, concrete, air flow - the artist plays like a magician with the rules of nature, whether attraction or gravity. With a minimal and almost intangible language, the artist seeks to blur the lines between the realm of thought and the one of the possible, to always push the limits a little further.
Extract from Daria De Beauvais about the exhibition Meltem at Palais de Tokyo, March 2013
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This is not the first time that Jean-Baptiste Caron exhibits at the Gallery 22,48 m2. Yet this is the first time there is something to see; his first exhibition in 2011 prohibited the entrance of the gallery, where, however, the space was split by a set of mirror reflections. According to this very experimental proposal, Jean-Baptiste Caron has this time chosen to present several recent works in the continuity of a discrete work on the matter. Dust, instability research, navel lint, random spirals... The work of the young artist certainly fits in the tradition of a "dispersed aesthetetics", similar to the one defined by the art critic Gilbert Lascault in his "Timid Writings on the Visible”.
Hard or pure sciences, in any case called exact, are here slightly displaced: stepping aside only. The weight of a plumb line was replaced by a very light dusty twin oscillating like a pendulum that swings at every movement of visitors in the gallery, in A l'Aplomb des Hauteurs ("The plumb heights."). Le Petit Attracteur ("The small attractor") evokes internal cosmogony of the human body, which seems very paltry compared to its galactic reference, the great attractor. In a grey concrete structure arises through a mirror set a floating form a like a cottony cloud, which appears to be nothing less than a stringy mass, those found in navels when we don't take care of them.
The work Mécanique du vivant ("Mechanics of the Living"), is an imposing concrete sphere that also gives the image of a troubled world: its center of gravity - in other words, in a more anthropomorphic way, its navel - having been moved, it moves in slow and unstraight spirals. As for the glass bottle Et Soudain le Réel Vacille ("And suddenly the real falls"), its apparent instability at the edge of a table hides a real center of gravity. Threatened by the possible evaporation of the water it contains, the sculpture seems to sum up what connects the works of the exhibition: all on the edge, and ready to fly, with no doubt.
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Text by Camille Paulhan, Revue Hippocampe. February 2013
Placing his artistic research on both in terms of material and symbolic gravity, Jean-Baptiste Caron proposes an approach as subtle than skilfully shifted that question with a beautiful modesty the track of absence and the advent of the disappearance. With scientific rigor, Jean-Baptiste Caron stages experiments that go beyond the comical to reveal a real force, halfway between the physical phenomenon and the magical illusion. As for Mécanique du Vivant ("Mechanics of Living"), a concrete sphere whose center of gravity is moved causes it to dance in a strange ballet of spirals, or Alea Jacta East, wich is a successive reproduction of a paved sandstone that reduces at each step by the natural contraction of the material. It calls the illusion of a possible loss.
Text by Guillaume Benoit, Slash Magazine #2. October 2013
In his exhibition "Degrés d'incertitude" (“Degrees Of Uncertainty”), Jean-Baptiste Caron seems to escape from the gravity of the real world as obsessed with the ascension. Between gravity and lightness literally as well as figuratively, his works oscillate between illusion and reality.
Jean-Baptiste Caron for his second exhibition at 22.48 m2, presents "Degrés d'incertitude". In April 2011, he already invested the place, offering a conceptual and provocative exhibition: closing the gallery to the public. Entitled "44.96 m2" (22.48 multiplied by two), this exhibition, whose name itself is a diversion, was a wink to many artists.
Yves Klein, in 1958, after his immaterial works, invited the audience to the first void exhibition at Iris Clert gallery. Robert Irwin, in 1970 in Los Angeles, let the gallery empty, using this space sometimes, to think about what he could show.
Jean-Baptiste Caron didn’t give this chance to the public. The gallery wasn’t empty but entering it was impossible. He resurrected the topic that art is a travesty. Visiting 44,96m² provoked certainly some frustration; nevertheless by looking closer to Jean-Baptiste Caron productions, it remained as a new manipulation of the real and a transformation of the gallery into a fictional space.
It is in the continuation of the same idea that the young artist of 29 years now presents four pieces that question the immaterial and the upward momentum. The works are interrelated with minimalism and precision. They suggest the diversion existing into a palpable in-between. The title given to each of them invites us on the field of physical laws and summons a scientific imaginary. Mécanique du vivant (“Mechanic Of The Living”) is a 40 cm diameter white sphere made of concrete and polystyrene. The title contrasts with the simplicity of the object, placed on the ground. Yet it is matter of physics. The center of gravity of the object has been moved to force the sphere not to achieve a regular circle move. Unmoving in the gallery, it comes alive in a video screening that demonstrates the invisible intervention of the artist.
With Le Petit Attracteur (“The Small Attractor”), Jean-Baptiste Caron presents a concrete standing structure above that seems levitate a few grains of dust following an optical illusion. This project finds its roots in an observation of everyday life, the mass center of the navel the cloth fiber, very seriously named peluca ombilicus. The artist establishes a link between a proven mechanical effect on his body and the universal laws of the attraction. The title is a direct reference to the Great Attractor, gravitational anomaly of the universe caused by a super cluster of galaxies. In his works, Jean-Baptiste Caron seems to escape the gravity of the real world as obsessed with the ascension. Between gravity and lightness, literally as well as figuratively, the artist oscillates between illusion and reality.
This dialectic of the vertical is included in the following two productions. A l'aplomb des hauteurs ("A plumb heights") represents a plumb line whose weight is made of dust. The wire still points the ground, but offers a point of unstable equilibrium. Et soudain le réel vacille ("And suddenly the real falls") is a bottle of mineral water made of glass, placed in extreme peril, balancing on the ridge of the base that supports it. These pieces escape from all the seriousness and play with our perception. Jean-Baptiste Caron wants to make them exist in an intermediate space and for it he operates a shift.
Jean-Baptiste Caron is not a magician. He is not tricking anyone. He proceeds shiftily to a reflection on physical or mechanical laws relative to gravity. He takes position as smuggler, looking to free us from our own gravity, to wipe out what we are sure of and to make us enter uncertain and unstable universe into a perpetual movement.
Text by Florent Jumel, Paris Art. January 2013
The work of Jean-Baptiste Caron focuses on the relationship between art and science. The artist questions the multiple and permanent shifts from a state of matter to another one in its smallest variations. Thereby establishing a permanent connection between the cosmic - the universe and its laws - and the intimate - the human body in its most carnal sides - Jean-Baptiste Caron raises a poetry of almost nothing. Le Petit Attracteur ("The Small Attractor ") (2012), which is both a sculpture, a laboratory instrument and a poetic fiction, plays the vertiginous opposition of materials: angular block of concrete, solid geometric, and a and tiny pincushion of dust molded in the navel of the artist. This construction emphasizes the plastic concerns of the artist with humor and sensitivity, always between heavy and light, gravity and weightlessness, physical and metaphysical.
The title refers to the Great Attractor: a very solid super galaxy clusters whose attractive force operates in our galaxy, in the Milky Way, and in nearby galaxies.