“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
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