Pierre Bergian

10 Feb — 4 Mar 2017 at Purdy Hicks Gallery in London, United Kingdom

17 FEBRUARY 2017
Pierre Bergian, Homage to Giulio Romano, 2016. Courtesy of Purdy Hicks Gallery
Pierre Bergian, Homage to Giulio Romano, 2016. Courtesy of Purdy Hicks Gallery

Pierre Bergian paints empty rooms. Sometimes there is a ladder, a picture frame, a table, but these seem to do little more than add to the emptiness. 'My paintings are a little similar to still lives,' he says. 'Emptiness fascinates me.' They are about light in space. 'I never paint artificial light. I love sunshine coming into a room with a lot of shadow. I make a difference between morning and afternoon light or evening light. I also like the light of the winter sun, coming in very deeply. Moonlight is fascinating! Especially in old houses, when this light reflects on the walls, floor and ceiling. Light in a building can be so delicate.'

Bergian’s rooms are a composite of spaces which have attracted him. 'Some of the painted interiors are quite realistic. Others are compilations of what I have seen – impressions of reality.'

Behind the air of mystery in Bergian’s images lies a taste for old interiors and abandoned rooms, an interest in what he calls the archaeology of the interior. 'When I was a child, I loved to discover abandoned old houses in Bruges, Lille and Ghent. They were mostly empty and rather dark, of course, without artificial light. Medieval buildings are very mysterious. But 20th Century buildings are amazingly interesting too.' He does not think he is alone in this taste: 'I am persuaded that we are unconsciously very fascinated by interiors of buildings because these are the places in which we spend the largest part of our lives.'

'I try to sniff the mysterious atmosphere of all these places and images. A result you can’t entirely get through photography. I prefer to work with a brush and paint. The process is slower, but you give the image more time to penetrate the mind.'