Smudges of paint are placed here and there in a sort of dance that might be performed by a paintbrush: it lends varied hues to the colorful swirl congealed into flashy paste. Baptiste Rabichon uses two scanners, one facing the other, and covers their beds with gushing paint to explore pictorial aspects of photography and push its limits. This series was started at the Ecole du Fresnoy in 2014. Its title, Chirales, derives from the principle of chirality which describes objects that cannot be superposed on their mirror image. Rabichon’s compositions create the illusion of twin panels in a cleverly mounted diptych, except that they don’t match.
It seems a sleight of hand on the part of the artist to be able to make us feel lightheaded in front of the product of his curious gesture. Because the two scanners are locked in an embrace, the resulting images create a complex background that multiplies the superposed layers. Sometimes Baptiste Rabichon’s finger is caught in the photograph and introduces an added stratum into the work. Other times, the effect is due to the difference between the paint adhering to one scanner glass and the paint applied to the other. Or yet, the visual strangeness eludes the process, and extends its domain from color hues to neon and rainbow effects. The final result is like a bright neon composition, which magnifies the feeling of vertigo produced by the mise-en-abime background and lends the image a sudden, eye-catching depth that takes us by surprise.
By Jean-Baptiste Gauvin
Baptiste Rabichon, Chirales
February 8 to March 16, 2019
Galerie Binôme, 19 Rue Charlemagne, 75004 Paris