Bernhard Martin was born in Hannover in 1966. Some of his most important presentations, to which he has been regularly invited to participate in since his debut in 1989 include solo exhibitions in the Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg (2008/09), the Arario Museum in Seoul (2006), Villa Arson in Nizza and the MAMACO in Geneva (2002), P.S.1 in New York City (2001), and at the Friedericianum in Kassel (1993).
Additionally, Martin has participated in many group shows within Germany and internationally, including ones at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin (2008), the Kunsthalle Mannheim (2006), the Museum der Moderne in Salzburg (2005), the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst in Zurich (2004), the ZKM in Karlsruhe, and at the Frankfurter Kunstverein (2003).
Works of Bernhard Martin are also included in the Museum of Contemporary Art in Geneva, the Rubell Collection, MoMA, collection of Deutsche Bank, and the Arario Museum in Beijing. In 2008, Martin, who already was among the most prolific German painters and sculptors, was awarded with the Art Prize of the City of Wolfsburg.
The themes of Bernhard Martin’s works are quite diverse and their dynamic and sometimes turbulent nature make them aesthetically challenging. They seem to be a painterly visualization and compilation of an immense flood of thoughts. In doing so, Martin can rely on a large and diverse set of skills, which in no way hinders him, but rather enables him to work between the levels of reality and surface in his paintings. Often, the artist will make reference to the paining as a painting, playing with modes of expression and the depiction of the painterly process.
Though the mediums of drawing and collage are the quickest and most efficient ways of conveying his perceived image or object – found or fictional – the same impressions, thoughts and images are incorporated into his painting, often as humorous scenarios or enigmatic pictorial landscapes. His paintings, which rely heavily on figurative depiction, only have limited recall value, and, beside the essential title of the painting, hold no distinct narrative structure. The image of characters in Martin’s work is distorted, deformed, or transparent, as a means to estrange the humanoid figure from the reality of the viewer, as opposed to serving as protagonist. His goal is to achieve paintings free of hierarchy, in which the traces of his inspiration are washed away.
The artist lives and works in Berlin.