Berni Stephanus

12.5″x15.75″; 2020

Berni Stephanus
Geneva, Switzerland


Collage, for me, allows the creation of an image in a very short time. As it is an improvisation from a photo or part of a photo, the continuation develops from it in a limited time (2 hours at most, moreover I am obliged to at least one per day) to achieve an entirely new and personal composition. I practice with an empty mind to begin with, the rest is a kind of waking dream, sometimes accompanied by some personal, artistic or other reminiscences. As for the format of my images, I prefer the magazine double pages which leave me room for my improvisations. The intentions behind my compositions are the awakening and the pleasure of the spectator. The awakening for wandering in the image and also to cause a visual disturbance, which in my opinion, gives life to the image thanks to the junction between the images and what happens to this shock or this transition.

I always thought that painting cared little about the real world, with a few exceptions, and my favorite artists were, for example. Goya, that is to say artists who speak of the present times. I know that art cannot change the world or even improve it, and I do not claim that. Perhaps the mere fact of imagining images already constitutes in itself a radical libertarian act. And for that, there is no need for much: just a few magazines, a stick of glue and scissors and that, anywhere, anytime.


Born in 1941 in Hannover, Germany in German-Jewish family. Started painting at age 15. In 1960, he moved to Geneva (CH) and attended Art School. He had many different jobs, from vendor to printer, and finally teacher. He later studied in Linguistics and History of Art. He has been doing collage since 1967 out of political protest and lack of inspiration in front of the canvas. He stopped painting around 2000. Since retirement he has been doing daily collage. He has received no awards and no commissions. The artist prefers absolute freedom and rejects the art circus with the dependencies that it induces. He has had some exhibitions in Switzerland. He is currently living in Geneva and France.


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