q)Please tell us your name and where you practice.
a)Berni Stephanus, I work in 2 places : Geneva and Southern Burgundy where we have a residence.
q) Why do you make art?
a)It became clear to me when I started painting when I was 15: It was my destiny.
q) How do you work ?
a)I make collages every day, if I can’t, I just play with bits of paper that I leave on my desk.
q) What´s your background?
a)I learned painting with private teachers, later I went to art school and still later I made a degree in history of art.
q) What role does the artist have in society?
a)Mostly to entertain. Rarely to awaken.
q) What was a seminal experience for you ?
a)That I was able to copy a Manet without any training. This was my first painting.
q) Has your practice changed over time ?
a)Yes a lot. From abstraction I often came back to realism in order to be understood.
q) What art do you most identify with ?
q) What´s your strongest memory of your childhood ?
a)The brutality and the mockeries of the women in a Christian home in Bavaria, where I stayed for 6 months without any visit from my parents. I didn’t know that my mother was Jewish.
q) What themes do you pursue ?
a)Suffering, human madness, strange situations. Irony.
q) Describe a real life experience that inspired you.
a)My recent kidney operation. I made some collages in hospital with many skulls.
q) What´s your most embarrassing moment ?
a)In art? None. In my life: when I understand that I was completely wrong.
q) What jobs have you done other than being an artist ?
a)Teacher: art, history of art, German, French, speed reading etc. Translator.
q) What responses have you had to your work ?
a)That I had to concentrate on what is my strength: collage. I therefore decided to leave painting.
q) What do you dislike about the artworld ?
a)Dislike is too strong. It’s the commedia dell’arte. I never did want to play a part in it. I won’t bow before power or money. My main word is: (total) freedom.
q) What research do you do ?
a)I write on my collages. It started with morning papers.
q) What is your dream project?
a)To be able to work as long as possible.
q) What´s the best piece of advice you have been given ?
a)My father used to tell me that one has to concentrate on one thing.
q) What couldn’t you do without?
q) What makes you angry?
q) What is your worst quality?
a)Being full of myself.
q) Dogs or Cats ?
q) Making art is a lot like being on lsd. Know what I mean ?
a)Not quite, because lsd leads to self-disintegration whereas art leads to self-construction.
q) What does “ copy” mean to you ?
a)Nothing. I never copy, even not myself. But I hijack parts of paintings, sculpture and photos.
q) What´s your favorite cuss word ?