Painter Emerik Bernard dies aged 84

Ljubljana – Emerik Bernard, one of the most important Slovenian painters and representatives of late Slovenian modernism and postmodernism, has died aged 84, the MMC news portal reported on Monday.

Art historian Tomaž Brejc described Bernard’s contribution to Slovenian art as the most visible and successful synthesis of the principles of modernism with the artistic inventions of postmodernism.

Bernard received a number of awards, including the most prestigious national award in culture, the Prešeren Prize for outstanding achievements in fine arts in 1997.

His early work was made in various collage and assemblage techniques; these paintings objects were close to New Realism in their composition and the materials used.

In the early 1980s, he combined the collage technique with a poetic iconisation of landscape images from the coastal Istria region.

One of the highlights of this period is the monumental painting Materada, a kind of a synthesis of this period of Istrian palimpsests.

His works from the 1990s are marked by a highly urbanised construction reminiscent of Cezannesque rethinking of the design of space and the layering of colour in landscape imagery.

Bernard was also a philosopher of art, an expert in the history and theory of painting, philosophy and literature, publishing his writings in this field in two books, in 2000 and 2008.

Born in Celje in 1937, he graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts and Design (ALUO) in Ljubljana in 1965 and finished his post-graduate studies three years later.

He worked as a freelance artist for years before becoming an assistant professor for fine arts at the ALUO in 1985, where he worked as full professor from 1995 until retirement.

In 2001, he was elected an associate member of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SAZU) and became its full member in 2007.