PIERRE BERGIAN : PAINTINGS 2020

20 November - 5 December 2020

Although I studied at history and archaeology at university, I have always been fascinated by architecture. When I was a child, I loved to discover old, abandoned houses in Bruges, Lille and Ghent. They were mostly empty and rather dark, without artificial light. I was drawn to them. Similarly, I am very fond of the Italian metaphysical paintings of the twentieth century, particularly the way in which walls, windows, floors and furniture communicate with natural light. Being interested in light is not exceptional for a painter. I must specify, though, that I never paint artificial light. I love some sunshine coming in 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.

 

Also when I was a child, my family and I visited museums, artists’ studios, and collectors’ interiors. I was, and still am, captivated by rooms filled with an artistic mess, with paintings piled up against the wall. However, emptiness holds me, too. I don’t know why, but I prefer interiors or landscapes without people. In this way, my paintings are a little similar to still lifes. While there are no people, the spaces are not really empty, but are more or less abandoned, giving them a slightly surrealistic touch. My paintings are meant to be poetic; I am not interested in any conceptual meaning, but am intrigued by the interiors of buildings because these are the places in which we spend the largest part of our lives.

 

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 so as 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 paintings are in some way a meeting of archaeology, history and architecture.