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Tina Berning

You’ve Changed

“The way in which an image of a person is transformed is one of the most arresting messages communicated to us through the art of drawing”. (Koschatzky, Walter: Die Kunst der Zeichnung. Bd. 1 Salzburg Wien 1977, S. 420)


In her drawings, Tina Berning constantly explores the web of relationships between conditioned aesthetics and supposed self-determination in the popular canon of contemporary visuality. With her drawings and collages, she formulates her own image of the human body, it’s inadequacy and its fundamental relation to beauty. Her works present studied gestures that refer to compulsion and repression. Tina Berning’s works are a comment on the familiar presentation of the human being that, caught up in the interplay between voyeurism and exhibitionism, willingly subordinates itself to the rules prescribed by the media. At the same time, her drawings document the way in which dissonance is directly dependent on this convention.

Her figures are always gracefully depicted, yet their beauty usually remains imperfect. Streaks of colour lie like shadows over the delicate silhouettes, fragments applied with thread or staples, bodies come hurtling down and smudge-like blots cover the form.  Her drawings characteristically feature superimposed ruled lines, which express her exploration of the ambiguity of words.

The words that sometimes appear in her drawings (e.g. “host”, “force” or “If So”) only seem to give information on the content of the sheet. Consequently, these expressions can be regarded merely as tokens of an additional layer of perception, which, in addition, can be resolved only subjectively, according to each beholder’s powers of observation. 

Instead of using the resources of drawing to control her subject, she constantly responds to the medium by using found material, yellowed, torn pages, scrap paper. She rescues test books, separator sheets, classified ad forms, school exercise books and old record covers from flea markets before they are thrown away, and reuses these finds as materials in her work, to render visible the traces of aging, transience or death. 

In her drawings, Tina Berning plays with the collective figurativeness, yet at the same time she invests the people she draws with so much expression that they represent a threat to the social norm.

Tina Berning makes subtle corrections to the standard, uniform face, enabling a look of physical expressiveness to return. In her illustrations, she gives form back to the stereotypes. Even when they appear fragile and vulnerable, the faces and images of the people take on a form that is all the more resistive.


Tina Berning lives and works in Berlin developing her drawings in a daily process documented in her artist’s diary online (instagram @tina_berning). She is also working as an illustrator for numerous international magazines and newspapers.




Confluence with Michelangelo di Battista

Fotografiska Muset, Stockholm, Sweden, 2017

Me And I mit Michelangelo di Battista

Camera Work Contemporary, Berlin 2017


Fashion Illustration Gallery, London 2016

Those Who Stay

Alison Milne Gallery, Toronto, Canada, 2016

Last Man Standing

Haus Kunst Mitte, Berlin, 2016

ELEGANCIA, with Michelangelo di Battista

Galerie A, Paris, 2014

SUPERMODELS, with Michelangelo di Battista

Camera Work Contemporary, Berlin, 2014

Visions & Fashion, Bilder der Mode 1980-2010

Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, 2011

Verschwende Deine Jugend

Galerie Wendt + Friedmann, Berlin, 2011

Face/project with Michelangelo di Battista

Galerie Camera Work, Berlin, 2010


Gallery Hanahou, New York, 2009


Galerie Andreas Binder, Munich, 2009

No Nipples. No Guns. No Cigarettes

Galerie für Illustration, Berlin, 2008/2009

Fashion Show

Galerie Camera Work, Berlin, 2008

Spread The Lead

Gallery Hanahou, New York, 2008

Group Show presented by 2agenten

2agenten, Berlin, 2008

A Drawing A Day / Bilderklub

Gallery Hanahou, New York, 2008

100 Girls On Cheap Paper, (The New York Girls),

Gallery Hanahou, New York

100 Girls On Cheap Paper, (The Tokyo Girls), 2007

Gallery LELE, Tokyo, 2007

100 Girls On Cheap Paper

Galerie Donkersloot, Amsterdam, 2006

WERKSCHAU, 100 Girls On Cheap Paper

Galerie Wallstreet-One, Berlin, 2006


Galerie Wallstreet-One, Berlin, 2005

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