2011 UPCOMING SHOWS:
Birmingham City University:
Multimedia Installation. Margaret Street, 13 - 19th June.
VIVID / Garage Presents... Deathtripping
Event curated by Bernadette Louise, based on and including the work of the Cinema of Transgression art, film and music movement. Vivid, Heath Mill Lane, 7 - 10th September.
Artist / Performer / Project Coordinator / Curator
Bernadette Louise is an Artist, Performer, Heartbreaker, Housewife. She is inspired by extremes.
Extremes of day to day living. The extremely mundane. The extremely grotesque. Everything we encounter inside and outside of our bodies...and how one affects the other.
Born in England in the early 1980's, and having had a somewhat emotional childhood, everything Bernadette has done within her personal life and artistic career has been viciously emotive. She yearns to articulate the intangible. Continuously trying to express the internalized violence that goes on behind closed doors, within our minds and beneath our skin.
Bernadette works as both independent Artist and Project Coordinator/Curator. Her flexibility to work both endeavours has been the making of her own successful creative practice. Her career began by working for Ron Athey, Lydia Lunch and Nicole Blackman. Since this time, Bernadette has developed a distinctly abject style of expressive Multimedia Live Art of her own, for which she has been awarded Arts Council funding and still continues to expand today.
In 2003 Bernadette was approached to work for the International Live Art Festival, FIERCE. As a part of Ron Athey's massive Visions of Excess Bernadette choreographed, performed and produced a video installation. Athey's production featured over 100 artists, all of who were exhibiting extreme works in a seedy strip club. The production remains one of the most notorious performances ever seen in Birmingham and had success all over the world.
Bernadette's relationship with FIERCE Festival continued in to 2004, when she was required to assist the hugely influential Lydia Lunch throughout her controversial project Not Safe Triple Threat of installation, photography and live performance at Birmingham's Custard Factory. Bernadette also multi-tasked as Production Assistant on Nicole Blackman's sold-out production of the legendary Courtesan Tales at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre. She also worked for Blackman in 2006 Art & Architecture week, as well as accompanying her on a European tour of the Courtesan Tales.
Now familiar with the work of Athey and Lunch, Bernadette realised that there was a place for her artwork. It was more brutal than artists such as Louise Bourgeios and Kiki Smith, more punk rock, more alive. The writing of George Bataille suddenly existed, artists like Franko B, Kira O'Reilly, Kembra Pfahler made it apparent that there was a home for Bernadette and what she wanted to articulate.
"Up until this point, no physical medium was saying what I needed to say. I felt that I needed to scream and now I could...I had at long last been given my mouth and my voice could be heard."
With years of valuable experience assisting some of the most compelling artists in the field, Bernadette once again began focussing on her own, and started to develop her distinctive style. Lunch became a great influence and Bernadette started to take spoken word more seriously, but she could not fight off the urge to create home environments in an artistic way. She continued to use autobiographical themes and in doing so wanted exploit the voyeur in her audiences whilst expressing the theatrics that also inspire her.
After successfully applying for funding from Arts Council England, Only A Phone Call Away debuted at the Fierce Festival 2007, inviting the public to call and eavesdrop on a series of unsettling stories set in different locations around the home. Multi-tasking as Artist, Project Manager, Writer and Performer, Bernadette recruited performers from Barcelona, New York and Birmingham, including local writers as well as her mentors Blackman and Lunch. The project reached an untapped audience for performance art, and it was a massive success, receiving hundreds of phone calls and messages from callers around the world. Following the debut success, Only A Phone Call Away was re-commissioned by the Intimacy Festival at London's Goldsmiths and Bernadette's writing about the work was featured in a Live Art Development Agency Study guide by Rachel Zerihan.
The following year Bernadette's live multimedia show What Goes On In This House, Stays In This House debuted at the Birmingham Hippodrome, as part of Fierce Festival 2008 was again successfully funded by Arts Council England. By constructing an elaborate multimedia narrative creating a domestic space that is both a place of comfort and a claustrophobic prison, the work concentrated further on the secrets swept beneath carpets, the video/audio and choreographed performance violently acknowledged autobiographical tales of what goes on behind closed doors.
After developing various pieces of individual and collaborative work, including Harnessing Lunar Hysteria, Suite Hysteria and Egg Piece, Bernadette took her interest in the home environment and honed it further. With the regard to the home, this focus became less about bricks and mortar and more about flesh and bone. The womb as a container, manipulative hormones that can restrain the physical and emotional properties of wo/man.
Petticoat Nightmares debuted at ACT ART 8 in July 2010 at Islington Metal Works. In this original format it was a live installation/performance. It encompassed large explicit images and three large piles of props, (marigold gloves, speculums and eggs) creating a small spot lit theatrical environment for a two-hour performance. Now the show has developed in to an umbrella term for the work she is currently doing. The Eggs have become increasingly important as Bernadette delves in to fertility as a part of the abrasive gynecological imagery and housewife persona.
Bernadette's photographic installation and live performance OestrogenXenOestrogen at the London BARBICAN, further investigated the hormonal aspect of eggs and gender in relation to urine, the contraceptive pill and household products. 'Oestro' also featured in a Manchester programme of live art EMERGENCY in 2010.
Today Bernadette's entire practice is a continuation of Petticoat Nightmares and by developing the theme of eggs/Ova, she has grown an affinity with chickens and all they represent. The eggs as reproduction, the mother hen, the coop as home, and the menstruation that we eat with our breakfasts. By blurring the boundaries of acceptability and accessibility of imagery and information. Intrigued by themes of bodily restrictions, psychotic extremes and camp theatre, she draws upon personal but often commonplace experiences. Her practice investigates taboo contradictions of the internal and external fe-male form by drawing on gynaecology and housework.
Bernadette's roll as Project Coordinator and Curator is also something that is ever growing. Working with VIVID in September, she is developing a huge one off production based on the art work of the Cinema of Transgression movement. Garage Presents...Deathtripping will focus on the films and words of Lunch and co from the Lower Eastside New York underground scene 1984 - 1991.
© Bernadette Louise
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