by Gesine Borcherdt
Translated by Siobhan O’Leary
For many on the German art scene, Bernhard Martin
(b. 1966) has always been the man who played “painter prince,” complete with rings, Rolex and gold tooth, not to mention a studio loft in Berlin and a mansion in the country. A brilliant outsider who rode the nostalgic wave of New German Painting, Martin started studying at the Kasseler Kunstakademie at the age of 16 and swapped artwork for onion soup in the bars of Barcelona. His paintings from the mid-'90s are a kaleidoscope of sensory overload, combining classic nudes, fragmented spaces, stray butterflies, languishing eyes, winter landscapes, advertising logos and more into a kind of postmodern hysteria.