Pierre Bergian (born 1965, Bruges, Belgium) studied Art History and Archaeology, which, together with his fascination for architecture, inform his work. Making use of architectural components in his paintings of interiors, he explores space, light and structure. In his recent works on paper the walls are the focus, filled with pictures, sculpture and ornamental details, while the rooms themselves are sparsely and minimally furnished.
`I never paint artificial light. I love some sunshine coming into a room, with a lot of shadow. I also like the light of the winter sun, entering very deeply, and moonlight, especially in old houses, when it reflects on the walls, floors, and ceilings. Light in a building can be so delicate..... Before I begin painting, I often make sketches of interiors. Some of these are quite realistic, while others are more or less compilations of what I have seen, perhaps impressions of reality. While painting or sketching, I imagine walking through spaces, opening windows, doors, and passages, and then closing others, to create another perspective, light or atmosphere. Sometimes this can be seen on the paintings, where underlying layers of paint, or even interiors, might be visible. I use fragments of older paintings in new rooms, often as a mirror, and this makes the work more like an archaeological object that contains layers of different periods. Thus, my work is in some way a meeting of history, archaeology and architecture'. (Pierre Bergian)
“Growing up in Bruges and Ghent, the young Pierre had the curiosity of an archaeologist. Later, that was what he became. At 11, he was picking his way through broken Medieval houses that stood unrestored and empty along the water ways, finding fragments of tiles and mouldings among the brambled courtyards. Ancient pottery, turned over in the light from fragile old glass windows, disclosed details of a Vermeerish world discovered by the silent canals at dusk, inspiring him then as they do now.
Later, he would identify the fresh originals of his shards meticulously represented in the floors and rooms of the paintings of Van Eyck, Memling and others in the museums that preserve their works in Belgium. By now in his twenties, he was collector of many things; above all, of the insights and memories that were to furnish his artistic endeavours.
Light defines Bergian’s paintings, the poignant low light of an empty street near the sea in winter or a lofty vestibule in a deserted Roman palace in spring, the sophisticated scented light of a Parisian salon at dusk or the buttery blessing of Italian sunshine in a piazza at dawn.’’
Patrick Kinmonth, extracts from an eight-page feature on the work of Pierre Bergian, World of Interiors July 2022.
Bergian’s illustrations of Hubert de Givenchy’s interiors are to be on show as part of the sale of Givenchy’s art collection at Christie’s Paris 10-14 June.