Baptiste Penetticobra

Baptiste Penetticobra (born 19 April 1991, France) holds a Master’s in Photography and Video Art from l’École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, Paris. His work has been exhibited at the art foundation le Palais de Tokyo and at the Centre Pompidou where he received a production grant for his short For Real, tho, a film about its own spectators’ relationship to fiction. For Real tho has been screened and gained special mentions at several festivals and exhibitions in the United States and throughout Europe, most notably the Centre National of Cinematopgrahy’s (CNC) Prix Qualité.

Baptiste’s work primarily focuses on prosaic environments and their relationship to fiction, signs, and narrative, in which video consists of a series of climatic and spatial images whereas photography works as extensions or appendixes of those territories. Baptiste’s work took him to live and work in the United States, most notably in Los Angeles between 2017 and 2018, where he was in residence at the MAK Center for Arts and Architecture.

More recently, Baptiste was invited by the contemporary art magazine Kaleidoscope Magazine to produce a coming-of-age video installation about the paranoia-tinged events of the 2000 New Year’s Eve and the aesthetic and linguistic obsessions of the Milanese subcultures of the time. The five-channel installation was filmed and presented at Spazio Maiocchi in Milan, Italy.

The Cruzz

‘The Cruzz’ is a photography series documenting two summers with the Cruzes, a Mexican family, in a small gated community in Ixtapaluca, south-east of Mexico City. Wanting to avoid a photographer’s distanced and cold stance, the Cruzes were asked to participate and collaborate on the series — thus turning a traditional documentary approach into an enigmatic game of role-play.

The series focuses on the two teenage sons of the clan and more specifically their relationship to territorial myths and a form of auto-fiction. The resulting images travel back and forth between documentary and mise-en-scène, real and performed, and often showcase a self-fictionalized version of the teenagers derived from American movie tropes and contemporary Mexican mythos. Having no access to a proper photo studio, a quick-and-dirty backdrop was assembled using old sheets taped to the walls in a neighboring uninhabited house — “scenes” were lit using bathroom neons pinned to the ceiling.

Images range from portraits of the oldest son alongside his newly pregnant girlfriend to the youngest’s relationship with his pet alligator. They also showcase the teenagers’ collection of makeshift firearms and knives — built out of duck tape, energy drink cans, pieces of plumping pipes, and sculpted agave stems. They form, together, a collection of hints, perspectives on the two teenagers’ relationship to photography, representation, and narrative.

Photographs are presented with custom frames assembled out of artificial stones and materials borrowed from Mexican and American public spaces.

To view more of Baptiste Penetticobra’s work please visit their website.