ANNIE OCHMANEK As Chris Kraus wrote in her review of your Greene Naftali show “The Complete Poem,” Bernadette Corporation (BC) has a notable ability to “stat[e] the obvious in all its complexity.” This describes not only BC’s poetic skill, but also your capacity to inhabit many facets of the art world and the culture industry at large, reflecting the interconnections at work as well as the opacity of one sector as it appears to another. You have consistently used fashion as an agent for this. What is it about fashion imagery specifically that allows for BC’s fluency?
BERNADETTE CORPORATION Fashion was interesting to us originally because it already operated across all these sectors, across all media. In the 1990s, fashion was a sort of Internet before the Internet. It was both a system and an image, and it moved very quickly. It was a high-speed connection between the street and the office tower, between New York, Paris and Hong Kong. But it wasn’t efficient communication; it was full of crossed signals, misinterpretations, failed transmissions, ridiculous avant-gardisms… Today, the Internet and fashion are exactly the same, so, for example, „anti-fashion“ is only possible as anti-network, suicide pure and simple.
When we do fashion now, we are basically presenting information about the contemporary body and using the model as a stand-in for the artist or poet. At Meyer Kainer Gallery, we exhibited images of a nude model wearing nothing but diamond rings and necklaces from a jeweler on the Upper East Side. This was not a fashion statement on our part; it was just using the average, generic fashion image to speculate on contemporary poverty, which is sort of a nonidea with a non-image. It was a way to show up with nothing—an actual nothing that we could bounce ourselves off of for a moment while thinking about what happens when artists, like fashion, become just information. We didn’t make any of these images; they were commissioned to professionals—photographer, model, designer and stylist. The images are a series of basic instructions from us to them, re-distributed in the gallery as work. They are communications turned into content.