Camille Bernard: The Skinny Showcase

Filmmaker, set designer, painter: Camile Bernard certainly keeps herself busy, and in the work showcased here, she explores a certain disfigured innocence

Gallery | 22 Aug 2016

Camille Bernard was born in 1994 in Paris, where she grew up and went to school. Having a French father and a Scottish mother, she left France as soon as she passed her Baccalaureat to go to Ullapool in the Highlands to follow a portfolio course in winter 2011. She moved briefly to Brighton before studying at the Glasgow School of Art. She graduated from the Painting department in summer 2016.

"The theme of harvest is a subject in which coexist different possible layers of comprehension, as it refers to various ideas: tradition and ritual, nature and community, abundance and necessity, completion and cycle. This series, Harvest, works as a narrative navigating through a parallel and constructed macrocosm. Depicting an environment both utopian and daunting, the imagery tries to reveal the ambiguities of human society and relationships, of their violence, their tenderness, and domination.

"Making short films within the Harvest series permitted me to explore the rhythms that constitute its narratives. Film narrates, like painting does with its handling-ability, colour and shape; by editing, by orchestrating sounds and movement. It has brought me to scale up the size of my paintings, so as to offer more legitimacy to the existence of the Harvest world. This pushed me to create a set for the films The Monster, The Lion, The Hunters in my studio space."

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"The set was constituted of painted cardboard cut-outs which offered to my paintings, as well as my film, a different nature. Using set design and costumes permitted me to direct the atmosphere and aesthetics of the piece, giving it more intent, consistency and singularity. It enabled my film to adopt the surrealistic quality of my paintings, in composition, colour and landscape and embrace the theatricality in my imagery.

"The films, however, have a different take on the surreal. The costumes and set design show the viewer a world of illusion and game, where humans and animals, disguised, interact in a cardboard set. Having various elements of my practice – painting, set design, film – co-existing within a space allows the viewer to immerse himself into a narrative, into its plurality, its theatricality. He becomes witness of a sort of a masquerade in a cardboard world where a sense of childhood nostalgia is darkened by the distance we make of things, symbols and situations as adults.

"That use of disfigured innocence in surrealism attracts me. Both the costumes and set, naïve and simplified, underline this tendency my work has towards fantasy and play, myths and memory. However, the subjects underlining the fable-like narrative distort the naïvety of the setting with undercurrents of violence, domination, bestiality and injustice."