Haude Bernabé

Born in Brest, Haude Bernabé lives and works in Paris. Beyond the fact her works are part of many private collections in France and abroad, including the Cérès Franco contemporary art collection in Montolieu, what strikes through her works as a sculptor is its strength, almost as a “force majeur” of creation.

“The road maps”

“During a stay in Togo in 2019, I was hiking in the bush and I discovered the dyeing properties of the young teak leaf. I had a sketchbook with me, I took the print using the sap.

Through my training as an agricultural engineer, I have always been passionate about plants and I have always admired the lines that make them up, often in a fairly mathematical, symmetrical, fractal way…

It is also this beauty that I wanted to capture by taking their prints during my wanderings or those of my friends who bring them back to me from their distant stays.

In the “Les souffles” series, I used cotinus inflorescences a lot because of their lightness and their extremely graphic appearance.

I was also strongly influenced by the reflections of the Martinican poet and essayist Monchoachi. According to him, the Western world, having desecrated nature, has considered it above all as a resource.

“The threat to the great natural balances was unstoppable since the Western model presents itself as a movement of rupture with nature, oriented towards the aggression of it (….) As a rupture also with the ancient wisdoms from which that they come” in contrast to many other peoples who have maintained a sacred connection with nature through their spiritualities.

In the book “The Forest and the Gods”, Lydia Cabrera explains that “It is through trees, plants, leaves, seeds that men trade with spirits and gods. Vegetation is the locus where the exchange of forces and signs between two worlds takes place.

It is these links, this spirituality between men and nature that I have tried to transcribe in my work.

The discovery of the documentary film “Moana” by Robert Flaherty, released in 1926, was an aesthetic shock and its remarks resonate with previous reflections. He is at the origin of the series “The Lost Paradises” where the leaf prints took up more space, saturated it, the characters represented are even tattooed with them. Which also corresponds to the feeling you get in a tropical forest where the vegetation completely envelops you, the plants themselves are of a different size from those in temperate regions.

Claude Levy Strauss said, upon arriving in Brazil: “Plants more copious than those of Europe raise stems and leaves which seem cut out of metal, so assured is their growth and so much their meaningful form seems sheltered. tests of time. Seen from the outside, this nature is of another order than ours, it manifests a higher degree of presence and permanence” (in Tristes tropiques)

Some drawings from the “Lost Paradises” series were made in Africa, others with leaves from Haiti. »

                                                                                    Haude Bernabé, May 2024

Made of raw metal, cut, welded, tortured, as mixed, Haude Bernabé’s sculptures have this prominent presence of primal scream, scream behind which the mathematical composure is never far. Rushing into labeling that universe of her primitive art would be damageable to her highly personal approach without concession to trends or fashion. A universe in which the intuitive intelligence and the constructivist mindset mingle closely.

Haude Bernabé’s work rises way beyond the divisions and categories in a current artistic landscape where cosmetic outweighs the power of the Ideas.

Haude Bernabé’s work reminds us that beyond fads and “concept artists”, sculpture,  Art is a matter of conviction, vision and emotion, which is to be sometimes as beautiful as a spring day, sometimes tortured, powerful as a storm over the sea and that these different states compose the meaning of it.

 “Haude au metal” by Kossi Aguessy, April 3 2014


Haude Bernabé’s viewpoint :

“Born in Brest, “the end of the European land” as the French author Mac Orlan said, my imagination has been shaped by this city of port, docks and containers ready to leave. It is not a town you go through, you go there. When you grow up in Brest, in front of the ocean, you always look to this skyline and you know that, in front of you, far away, is an elsewhere. I think my curiosity about the other partly come from this fact, my fantasy became harbor and nomadic. I can’t define myself only by the belonging to a geographical origin. The people I met have strengthened this feeling, particularly, the encounter with Cérès Franco, Brazil native, she has been the first to defend my work, she opened my mind to other imaginaries and has been essential in my personal journey.

At the origin of an artwork, there is, I think, the desire to understand life, the relations to Others. Art is a language based on another way of thinking and it explores territories that can’t be described by words. I work with metal and most of it with recycled metal, it is a way of having the outer world as a part of the process of creation.

I often work with themes, there is an upstream reflexion but I never do preparatory drawings. I draw directly on the piece I want to cut and flame cutting makes it ultimate. My work lies midway between conception and intuition. Using my hand involves intuition. It is an extension of my brain in the creative process.

Not the conceptual brain, but a deeper, more subterranean one. There is an “état de grâce” when the heart and the head are together in compliance. For the last few years, I’ve chosen to take off the rust and to polish the metal to let appear its brightness.

The desire to create is the urge to unite the occasional around the universal. It is a human encounter, an idea. A kind of quiver, a symbolic or mythical event. A break with chronological order. Sculpture as metaphor for event. It is “here and now”. A scientist by training, I work sculpture and drawing since the 1990’s. Science and art may have the same driving force, to understand life but through different prisms. For a long time I’ve explored the intimate inner life, sometimes through themes like Eros or Melancholia for example, but the world is facing difficult, sometimes tragic, political, human and environmental conditions and I think it is my responsibility as an artist to be the witness of the time in which I live. So I try to express what I feel about it with what I know how to do, my artworks. In 2016, I achieved #marenostrum, an installation about migrants’ crisis in Mediterranean Sea, it was presented in Florence at the end of 2016. Currently and for the two last years I am working on the search for identity in our world, creating sculptures which are at the same time portraits and masks. The sentence “Je est un autre” from Arthur Rimbaud is at the origin of this work. Identity is of course about what we are and what we give to see to others. I think it is also a crucial point in our societies. In a globalization world, a lot of people are searching a belonging to groups to define themselves, religious, sexual, political, gender group and so on.

Human beings are what the genetic and the culture in which they grow up, make of them. But they are also “moved”, morphed by the different cultures or people they meet through their lives. A new culture can be born from the mixing of several cultures without being an addition of them. It is what happens in cosmopolite big cities. And identities are moving too. This is what I tried to express ».

Main exhibitions

‘ A corps d’histoires ‘, Galerie Claire Corcia, Paris

‘ Madame rêve ‘, Galerie Claire Corcia, Paris

‘ Métamorphoses ‘, Galerie Claire Corcia, Paris

‘#marenostrum ‘ Eglise Saint Merry, Paris

‘ Arty facts ‘ Maison des Arts, Chatillon
ART@ERA, Trèves, Allemagne
‘ Alter ego ‘ Artsupermarket Gallery/ FRENCH MAY, Hong Kong
‘ Carnival ‘ Amnesty International, Hong Kong

‘ #marenostrum ‘ Villa Finaly, Florence
‘ Haude Bernabé/ Short cuts ‘ Lancement du livre et exposition Showroom Nathalie Garçon, Paris
‘ La peau et les mots ‘, Montolieu 

‘ En grand format ‘ Inauguration de la Collection Cérès Franco – La Coopérative, Montolieu
Galerie Jacques Levy, Paris

‘ Inside out ‘ Galerie  Claire Corcia, Paris

‘ Désirs bruts, collection Cérès Franco ‘, Maison des Arts, Châtillon
‘ 20 ans après ‘ Maison des Arts – Châtillon
Art O’Clock, Gallery  Claire Corcia, Paris

‘ Folie douce ‘ Galerie  Claire Corcia, Paris
‘ Sintra Arte Publica IX ‘, Portugal

‘ Insolente réalité ‘ Galerie Claire Corcia, Paris
Chic Art Fair, Galerie  Claire Corcia, Paris

‘ Elles rêvent d’Eros ‘ Galerie  Claire Corcia, Paris
Slick Art Fair, Heart Gallery et Frère Independent, Paris
Collection Cérès Franco – Musée des Beaux-Arts, Carcassonne
Gallery Recto Verso, Luxembourg
‘ El arte bajo pression ‘ Bancaja Fundacion Caja, Castellone 

‘ Féminin pluriel ‘ Galerie Claire Corcia, Paris
‘ Biennale de sculptures ‘ Eglise de la Madeleine, Paris

‘ Contrastes’ Maison des Arts, Chatillon.
Beautés ensorcelées ‘ Galerie Claire Corcia, Paris.

Galerie Recto Verso, Luxembourg

‘ Les Mitologies de Haude Bernabé i Pepe Donate ‘ Galleria  Favre, Barcelone.

‘ Les imagiers débridés ‘, Carcassonne

‘ Triptyque ‘, Angers

‘ Bruissements d’Elles ‘ La Caserne Centre d’art, Joué les Tours
‘ Désirs Bruts ‘, Le Kremlin Bicêtre

‘ Désirs bruts ‘ 6th Fine Art forum – Les Ulis, Le Kremlin Bicêtre
‘ Alchimie ‘ Galerie Geneviève Favre, Avignon
‘ Attention jeunes, Fête de l’Humanité ‘, La Courneuve

Lineart, Galerie  Geneviève Favre, Gand, Belgique
Galerie Geneviève Favre, Avignon

‘ Collection Cérès Franco – L’art sous tension ‘ Fondation d’entreprise Espace écureuil, Toulouse
Salon de mai, Paris

‘ L’art chemin faisant ‘, Pont-Scorff
‘ Collection Cérès Franco ‘ Château de Belval, Miramas

Biz’art carte blanche à Cérès Franco ‘, Bures sur Yvette

‘ L’objet recréé ‘ 5° Forum d’art plastique en Ile de France, curateurs PIERRE RESTANY et GERARD XURIGUERA, Les Ulis

‘ Jeux et jouets d’artistes ‘ Galerie Médiart, Paris


‘ Short cuts ‘ livre monographique, textes de Christian Noorbergen et photographies de Gilles Abegg, Collection Catherine Kessedjian, Editions Lelivredart.

‘ Une Vie, une Collection, Cérès Franco ‘, Centre d’Art Contemporain Raymond Farbos, Mont de Marsan.

Artension, hors-série N°16, ‘ La sculpture aujourd’hui ‘

‘ Collection Cérés Franco ‘, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Carcassonne, Château Comtal, Cité de Carcassonne.

‘ LES SCULPTEURS DU METAL ‘, 66 portraits d’artistes, Dominique Dalemont, (SOMOGY EDITIONS d’ART).

‘ Collection Cérès Franco, Un Art de l’Imaginaire Débridé ‘, Triptyque, Angers.

Connaissance des Arts, « Désirs Bruts », 6e Forum des Arts Plastiques en Île-de-France.


Exposition “Madame rêve” à la Galerie Claire Corcia