Wien Kunst

Interview with Negra Bernhard

Negra Bernhard is a painter from Vienna with Bosnian roots. She is currently about to complete her studies under Daniel Richter at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.
Magic Number Nine, oil on canvas, 100x160cm, 2022
Magic Number Nine, oil on canvas, 100x160cm, 2022

Your artist statement.
Somewhere between orient and occident her engagement with painting as an inventory of what is going on in and around her, as well as in what is out there in the world, is a searching one. It oscillates equally between sarcasm, insecurity and alienation towards the world in which we live, with the aim of exploring the unifying in us.

Artist. Negra Bernhard, 2021
Artist. Negra Bernhard, 2021

And where and how you look for inspiration?
Looking at the works of other artists inspires me. They let me see the space I’m still learning to walk in, which often seems endless, but at the same time that’s exactly what motivates me a lot. Mostly works by painters but also writers or filmmakers. I’m currently very fascinated by the paintings of Nicole Eisenman, am re-reading Charles Bukowski all over again, and just the other day I watched the whole new season of Russian Doll at once.

What does art mean to you?
For me art is like the eternal skinning of a snake in the cycle of being.

What subjects inspire you?
Personal experiences, including those that take place in dreams, as they often feel very real to me. Memories, whereby I am particularly interested in how they change over time. And a feeling for the world or, to put it in one word, the zeitgeist. At least there is often the attempt to visualize it. I often have ideas for paintings when I’m having a good conversation with someone while going out with friends, sometimes not necessarily sober and not necessarily with a friend. I usually write it down on my phone so I don’t forget it the next day.

New Year's Eve, oil on canvs, 150x110cm, 2022
New Year’s Eve, oil on canvs, 150x110cm, 2022

What’s your work-day like?
I think my work-day is rather unspectacular. I wake up, have breakfast, paint all day, eat dinner, watch a movie or read and go to sleep. However, I think it’s great.

What is hanging on your walls at home?
A lot of stuff. I’m not a big fan of empty walls. For example a hand-painted billboard poster from Ghana. They advertise mobile video club screenings of Hollywood, Bollywood, Nollywood and Ghanaian films. This particular one features The Snake Girl and is from 2017.

In Dog We Trust, oil on canvas, 110x150cm, 2022
In Dog We Trust, oil on canvas, 110x150cm, 2022

Banja Luka. Never heard before about that city, but it looks amazing. Can you tell me more about it?
My parents, my brother and I emigrated to Austria when I was 6 years old because of the Bosnian War. As a result, I probably don’t know Banja Luka as well as someone who lives there, but I still love going there from time to time and I also still have family there. For me, of course, this city is something special.

printf("Hello World\n");, oil on canvas, 150x110cm, acrylic paint and oil on linen tentacles, dimension variable, 2021
printf(„Hello World\n“);, oil on canvas, 150x110cm, acrylic paint and oil on linen tentacles, dimension variable, 2021

What are you working on now?
I just finished a painting today which aims to depict the different perception of time we have while dreaming and the feeling of being so overwhelmed by a dream that it feels more intense and therefore in a way more real than when awake. I don’t know what’s next yet, but worst case scenario, I choose something from the list I have on my phone.

Negra Bernhard –