Interview: Nathalie Bergeron-Duval
Luca Curci talks with Nathalie Bergeron-Duval during CANVAS INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR 2022, at THE ROOM Contemporary Art Space.
Nathalie Bergeron-Duval was born in 1959. She lives and works in France, at Viroflay close to Versailles). Continuous artistic training since childhood with artists Michel Costiou, Yves Esvaux-Veeska, Flavia Fenarolli, Barbara Gebarzewski, and Sophie Grüner. For more than 20 years, she has created by exploring the juxtaposition of materials and shapes, which inspire the artist with feelings or emotions. The techniques and materials she used are acrylic paint, Indian ink, paper, and cardboard. Her composition often starts through the collage of papers that she has painted beforehand with acrylic, newspapers, or cardboard. “Color is an element of pleasure that greatly guides the letting go that I seek. I start an exploration of monotype on paper and engraving on cardboard at the end of 2019. I work on recurring subjects that inspire me to tell stories through my creations.”
Luca Curci – What is art for you?
Nathalie Bergeron-Duval – I cannot imagine a society without art; it has been vital to human beings forever because art acts as a soul healer for humankind. It allows us to see beyond reality, feed our imagination, and express our emotions. I consider art as my part of freedom in my life, whether it is through my own work or the art I see around me.
LC – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
NB – I have grown up with art and I come from a family where self-expression in art was encouraged; my mother is a great storyteller for young people, and my father used to paint and sculpt. I’ve attended workshops and classes with artists since childhood; over the years I have worked with Michel Costiou, Yves Desvaux-Veeska, Pierre-Jean Varet, Flavia Fenarolli, Barbara Ebarzewski, Sophie Grüner, and her mother Madame Grüner who certainly triggered my taste for telling stories in my art when I was 10. The variety of these artists has greatly influenced my ability to develop my imagination and discover my own style.
LC – How is your creative process?
NB – For more than 20 years now, I have created paintings, collages, and sculptures, exploring my inspiration through materials, colors, and shapes. Whether it is in 2D or 3D works, my creative process lies in building something; this is why I enjoy so much the composition of a painting through the collage technique. Touching materials helps me feel the creative process. Then it is a very intuitive step-by-step approach, sometimes enhanced by meditation I practice walking in nature or at home. I use different kinds of materials: paper – recycled paper or paper I paint beforehand – bits of textile, cardboard, or roots and wood I find in nature. I like exploring various topics, but over the years, I’ve often come back to three main themes made of abstraction and figurative stories: “Imaginary Architectures”: very graphic works depicting landscapes or cities where I invite into a stroll in a maze of streets, old castles, or lost cities underwater. This is inspired by my travels and daydreaming. Dancers and other characters, created from models, or totally imagined, sketched directly in a collage of papers to capture movement. I work also in 3D with sculptures of wood roots assembled with metal wire. This theme is certainly influenced by my own practice of tango dancing. Animals, I had a passion for deep-sea fishes at one time because you can imagine any kind of creature, it certainly exists! But lately, it is birds of all kinds I enjoy the most. I started this topic during an artist residency in a small village in Macedonia where ducks, hens, and roosters were freely running around.
LC – How is being an artist nowadays?
NB – It has always been difficult I guess. First allowing oneself to stand as an artist is always an ongoing process that can take a lifetime! Second, the economics of art is very unpredictable, and today’s market dominated by big art fairs adds a financial issue to the risk-taking.
LC – Did your style change over the years? In which way?
NB – I think I’ve been very consistent with a style between abstraction and a sort of naïve figurative “Art Brut” opened to storytelling. I sometimes work with children who write poems inspired by my paintings, and I have a project for a book with a friend who writes short stories. My techniques have evolved though: I don’t use readymade images from magazines anymore, this is a style of surrealistic collage I’ve stopped. I’d also like to explore the technique of engraving on cardboard which I tested lately. There is a great deal of suspense, you never know exactly what the result will be – especially as a beginner – and this allows a fresh step-by-step approach I feel familiar with.
LC – What is the message linked to the artwork you have shown in this event? How is it connected to the theme of the entire exhibition?
NB – I felt attracted by the theme of MIXED IDENTITIES because we are all made of various identities as individuals, and as a society, we’re increasingly facing a time of mixed cultures shaping new mixed identities. This is an enriching and yet very challenging process for our future on the planet.
LC – Can you explain something about the artworks you have in our exhibition?
NB – I chose an abstract way of representing characters as triangles, moving through the canvas as seeking to encounter each other, and to discover their own identities, as we do through life. To me, the triangle can be interpreted as a symbol of the human body: two feet apart, anchored on the earth, and the head connected to the sky shapes a triangle. The angles of the triangle are interesting spots for directions…either closed or opened to continue as a line in space. The 3 paintings are then an open invitation to find what stories are told by these characters, who are they, what rituals of meeting they invent, etc…
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
NB – Yes it certainly opens international contacts between artists and buyers, and opens up new opportunities.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
NB – Yes I enjoy the quality of human contacts and the professionalism. The opportunity to have a video interview, completed by this written interview is a real plus for social media exposure. And it was very nice being in Venice for the opening!