Brussels-based French contemporary painter Jean-Baptiste Bernadet is known for his atmospheric works that skirt between the domains of impressionism, colour field painting, gestural abstraction, perception, and the sublime.Read More
Bernadet holds an MFA from l'École nationale supérieure des arts visuels de La Cambre, Brussels (2003) and an MFA from l'École Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Rennes, France (2002). From 2000 to 2001, he studied at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels.
Jean-Baptiste Bernadet regards his process as 'extending and repeating an open-ended protocol', while retaining accident and chance as a characteristic of his paintings despite them often appearing similar to one another. A painter of mark and colour, Bernadet explores how these elements can complement each other to evoke a sensation or vision beyond the pictorial space.
Typically working on a medium to large scale, Bernadet presents swathes of undulating colour constructed through small, systematically repeated strokes of oil paint mixed with alkyds and wax. Eliminating distinct focal points to achieve a variegated uniformity, the artist blends sensual pastel and jewel tones in an exercise in conscious yet transcendental perception. Untitled (New Day) (2018) heroes sky blue in a motley, dispersed formation, while the multidirectional sunset hues of Untitled (Mirage) (2018) emanate a warmth and vigour independent of visual representation.
In a 2016 interview with Anne Pontégnie, Bernadet stated: 'One of my two main goals is above all to load the paintings with a maximum amount of intensity. ... [I believe] that only painting can offer an image more resistant than those present in advertising, on the internet... Therein lies the will to work on a visual surface until it becomes sufficiently rich and complex to never be reproducible... My second goal is perhaps to instil lyricism into my work and that could be what I call sensitivity... They are like a projection screen for the viewer. The paintings aren't abstract or figurative but are indexical. I'm not interested in what one might see or recognise in them but rather the possibility to see or recognise something in them.'
Bernadet's acclaimed 'Fugue' series (2013—ongoing) comprises dozens of works painted in a recurring palette, featuring iridescent shades of fuschia, gold, turquoise, violet, and tangerine. Later iterations of 'Fugue' have seen the works take on the form of a folding screen, as in Untitled (Fugue - Screen IV) (2018), and an immersive 12-painting panoramic installation reminiscent of Claude Monet's 'Water Lilies' series at Musée de l'Orangerie. However, while the Impressionists sought to represent the shifting effects of light on everyday scenes, Bernadet's paintings present internal perspectival shifts, and take into consideration the effects of external light and space on the viewer's perception of a work.
Critic and curator Alex Bacon has written: 'The Fugue paintings operate as a center point or fulcrum for Bernadet's practice as a whole. On one level this is formal, in terms of the artist's interest in colour, and in an art historical tradition of colouristic, optical painting... On a conceptual level, these paintings exemplify Bernadet's interest in exploring and questioning the nature of perception in our moment. Like his forebears in colour painting, Bernadet uses the ways that colours, and their interaction, both activate the senses and allow the viewer to reflect back on the nature of that sensory activation, something which we realise in conditioned by both us and the artist being products of a certain time and place.'
In 2013, Bernadet was the recipient of the Laureate Young Belgian Art Prize awarded by Palais des Beaux-Arts de Bruxelles. In 2012, he was selected for the Prix Meurice pour l'Art Contemporain in Paris.
Bernadet has held numerous international residencies, including Moly-Sabata, Fondation Albert Gleizes, Sablons, France (2014); La Pratique, Vatan, France (2011); APT Studios x Residency Unlimited, New York (2011); Chinati Foundation, Marfa (2010).
Jean-Baptiste Bernadet has exhibited widely throughout Europe and internationally since the mid-2000s.
Solo exhibitions include Time and Again, Almine Rech, Brussels (2022); Balls, Karl Marx Studio Space, Paris (2021); Signs, Galerie Valentin, Paris (2021); Fugue, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen, France (2020); Essays, Marfa Book Company, Texas (2020); Signs, Almine Rech, Brussels (2020); Signs, Alon Segev Gallery, Tel Aviv (2019); Summer Readings, Marfa Book Company (2019); I_n a Distant_, M+B, Los Angeles (2018); Yo No Se, Galeria Mascota, Mexico City (2018); Hors Saison, Almine Rech, Paris (2018).
Group exhibitions include Les Apparences, A Cent Mètres du Centre du Monde, Perpignan, France (2021); Retrouvailles, Almine Rech, Paris (2021); Transparent Barricade, Ashes/Ashes, New York (2020); Woof of the Sun_, Ethereal Gauze_, Halsey McKay Gallery, East Hampton (2020); At Home, Valentin, Paris (2020); Listen to Your Eyes, Museum Voorlinden, Wassenaar, Netherlands (2020); Reflections, Gana Art, Seoul (2019); Abstraction, Song Art Museum, Beijing (2019); Notebook, 56 Henry, New York (2019); Salon de Peinture, Muhka, Antwerp (2019).
Bernadet's work is held in major European collections including the Museum Voorlinden, Wassenaar; Fondation Louis Vuitton; Fonds national d'art contemporain (French national contemporary art collection); Val-de-Marne Contemporary Art Museum, Paris; Musée des Arts Contemporains de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles (MACS), Hornu, Belgium; and Fondation Thalie, Ixelles, Belgium, among others.
Misong Kim | Ocula | 2022