As a figurative painter who looks to popular culture to question belief systems, Romain Bernini’s ambiguous, non-linear narrative works explore unorthodox cultures and environments. Bernini depicts fictitious realms from found and altered cultural signifiers through a distinct lexicon of abstraction, such as spectrums of vivid colours, which he overlays with figuration. His work has been described as ‘contemporary mystical’, where, for example, fantastical scenes of forests are replete with animals and indigenous peoples, masked and disguised. Knowingly referencing ‘primitive’ modes of art with subjects wearing mundane clothing, his work questions cultural and art historical stereotypes in a society that has dramatically overturned stereotypical conceptions and prejudices.
Bernini sheds a light on the current threat to our natural world and the anxiety inherent to our contemporary condition. His works suggest that capitalist societies inflict a greater malaise on individuals than the mystical tribalism of old because its impact is more covert. The collision between contemporary society and deeply rooted art historical references a tension in his world. As he says, “These images seem to be telling us that we live in murky times, that we interpret their events as best we can but are no longer able to grasp reality objectively.” (Slash/ 2010)
Romain Bernini was born in Paris in 1979. He graduated from the Sorbonne with a Master’s Degree in 2004 and continues to live and work as an artist in the city. He was a former resident of the Villa Medicis in Rome has exhibited extensively in France at the Museum of Chambery, Abbaye St André, and internationally at the Wooyang Museum of Contemporary Art Korea and West Bund Art and Design Shanghai.