In her 1960 novel All the King’s Horses, Michèle Bernstein wrote:

In a voice that was too loud and tried hard to sound worldly, the gallerist was talking about her shoes, so that an important visitor would understand she was already distancing herself from the failure she felt coming. But unlike your typical art opening, this one was no cocktail party: there was nothing to drink.

The novel’s translator, John Kelsey, a member of Bernadette Corporation and Reena Spaulings Fine Art, underscores the project’s feminist background: in her entertaining, unacademic text, Bernstein produced a counterweight to the publications of the Situationist International’s male theorists. The humor that shines through this brief excerpt and the reframing of established frameworks appear in the work of Bernadette Corporation as well. There, too, the narrative seems to be perpetually oscillating between the description of facts, the creation of myths, and personal histories.

Bernadette Corporation is, as this thesis shows, an “image generator.” It begins by taking on reality – that is, by engaging with the status quo – and then deconstructs, recontextualizes, reflects, and analyzes. The emulation and subversion of the surface interact to bring forth a space of freedom that parasitizes the existent. One might speak here of a tactic of double affirmation – a well-calculated subterfuge.

Supervised by: Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, Prof. Anja Dorn

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