Bernadette Despujols was born in 1987 in Barquisimeto, Venezuela. She studied Architecture at the Universidad Central de Venezuela (UCV), where she graduated with honors in 2007. Soon after, she continued her education at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where she took classes in architecture, cultural exchange, morphology and anatomy before beginning her endeavors in art making. Despujols taught Architectonic Design at the School of Architecture at the Universidad Central de Venezuela before moving to the US to pursue her MFA in Visual Arts at the California Institute of the Arts (Cal Arts) in 2010. Despujols’ artistic practice is highly expansive, as she incorporates a wide range of different media, including painting, sculpture, video, and installation. Her current work revolves and questions historical allusions, myths, and references regarding the perception of women, sex, and contemporary life. She shares her time between her architectonic firm and her art practice. Lives and works in Miami since 2013.
Despujols works with a diverse variety of materials, scales and strategies, intervening and assembling objects, working in small format paintings or large participatory sculptures, which complete an acute body of work that questions gender, the perception of women by society and themselves. Despujols questions intimacy and the idea that the world in which we live now revolves around sex. Bernadette Despujols examines from a variety of perspectives many deeply ingrained cultural practices associated with attempts to define contemporary womanhood. In this vein, the quest to find the answer to the question of how a woman, by virtue of being a woman, makes others uncomfortable seems to be one of the central tenets explored by her body of work. By drifting from guilt to shame, sex to loneliness, innocence to complicity, Despujols exposes femininity and the concept of the feminine as something to be understood by not just women themselves but by other genders as well. Bernadette Despujols’ work references the body and its place in social and cultural constructs specific to women, and speaks to the opinion of women of themselves, by themselves, in conjunction with that of men’s and the view of society at large... Her work encompasses nuances and subtleties that revolve around the cultural perception of women about themselves: guilt trips, social expectations, sexual desire, as well as intimate bodily connections and thoughts. It also explores the perception that womanhood is somehow always connected with some kind of guilt and draws a fine line between sardonic humor and sheer abjection.