In conversation with Marie Bernard

Otomys: How have your creative backgrounds contributed to the Marie Bernard Collection of works?


Marie Bernard: When we first started making work together, we knew we had to find a common ground. By then we had already been a couple for quite some time and had visited many cities, museums, exhibitions and architectural sites. We would discuss these visits at length. These shared experiences provided us with the backbone to our collaboration. The love for a tactile use of colour and materials was evident in Masja’s designs as well as in my paintings. Masja is very much at ease with gently pushing around abstract shapes and colours all day long until a composition is reached which proves satisfactory. I find myself obsessing over translating our paper collages into plywood: which shape is superimposed, which shape is placed underneath, how do we make it interesting enough without becoming too technical. Not to mention the meticulous balancing of all the different colours that we mix and apply by hand.



Otomys: Which artists and designers have influenced you throughout your career?


Marie Bernard: We are both very interested in architecture and sculpture.  Masja is also drawn to different styles of music.  She is currently studying the work of Contantino Nivola, a Sardinian sculptor, muralist and designer.  Philip Guston, the American-Canadian painter is a huge inspiration.  We are both moved by different kinds of art and one could say that we are omnivores when it comes to digesting the visual world.



Otomys: We know that colour is so important to your work; how do you select the colour recipes for your pieces and do you consider seasonal trends?


Marie Bernard: Intuition is key to selecting the colours we use in our work. Having said that: intuition usually works better with a certain degree of experience. We have both been intrigued by colour since starting our art education. I could contemplate the balance of colour for hours on end. Masja also spends hours choosing the right colour constellations. Seasonal trends is not something we tend to consider. We like our works to be timeless and relevant at the same time. 



Otomys: What do you love about living in Rotterdam?


Marie Bernard: The city has become busier and busier and more cosmopolitan over the past few years.  Rotterdam has always been an acquired taste with its modern city center, wide roads and its lack of ‘gezelligheid’, the typical Dutch coziness.  It has also provided us access to really great spaces to live and work, and with less distraction of the other larger cities.



Otomys: Where can we find you when not in the studio?


Marie Bernard: Probably in one of our favourite wine bars tasting new arrivals of natural wine or enjoying a meal with friends. If you can’t find us there, we’re probably hiking in the Belgian Ardennes, a favourite destination for us whenever we want to escape the city.

August 2, 2021