Paint Them Nails!

This evening the Universität der Künste, Berlin’s top arts university, will be opening its doors for its Rundgang 2012 – a huge exhibition and celebratory opening hoffest (courtyard party) in the picturesque courtyard of the university. It’s also the chance for art enthusiasts to visit the university and take a look into hundreds of art studios, which will also be open to the public. Last, but not least, you’ll have the opportunity to meet fantastic, young and talented artists, like Ulrike Bernard. Taking creativity to the max, Ulrike’s artwork will keep you enthused and guessing at what is coming next: From nail painting exhibitions to spoken word pieces in dialogue with Gerhard Richter’s photo-realistic paintings. We interview Ulrike to learn a little bit more about her artwork and to find out what the most unexpected thing to happen to her in art school was… 


BAPS: For your installation Dark Matter you were inspired by Gregory Sholette’s book of the same name – what impression did this book leave you with?
UB: Sholette describes invisible cultural workers parallel to the art market. He uses the term dark matter as a model to talk about marginalised groups. However, his idea of dark matter contains potential because certain groups and individuals are very conscious about acting outside the mainstream and art market conditions. In this installation I’m playing with the discourse around “creation and depression,” including song lyrics on the topic of work from different centuries.


BAPS: Your portfolio includes GIFs, sound installations and an image of a macbook – Do you think that technology and art are beginning to work hand in hand?
UB: Yes.


BAPS: Can you tell us about your upcoming performances in both Berlin and Hamburg?
UB: I am performing Nails Now as part of Voicing Responsibiltiy at KW – Institute for Contemporary Art on the 20th July. In this performance I paint visitors’ nails whilst having a semi private conversation with them.

In Hamburg I will participate in a project called The wo minus man at Gallery Oel – Früh with my friend Cornelia Herfurtner. In a lecture performance we analyze different concepts of categorisation and canonization. We will present a spoken word piece called “TO WHOMSOEVER IT MAY CONCERN: candles clouds snowscape woman – in the question aid of availibility” – referring to Gerhard Richter’s photo-realistic paintings.


BAPS: What is the most unexpected thing that happened to you while enrolled in art school?
UB: Once during a critique, a Professor ran hysterically out when a sparrow flew into the room, shouting: “This is a bad sign!”



Ulrike Bernard in her art studio Ulrike posing in her studio and ready for this evening! Photo: Chris Phillips


BAPS: In what way do you think that studying in Berlin formed your creative vision?
UB: I´m interested to reflect on different concepts and strategies for acting and surviving in Berlin – I consider that creative. I observe that all aspects of the living and working conditons directly affect the creative output. Most of the time I studied in Berlin and I went to live and study in other places too, like Jerusalem and Reykjavík.


BAPS: Do you have a place in the city where you find it easiest to concentrate?
UB: This place shifts constantly. But now, it is close to the armadillo’s armpit.


Thanks for the interview, Ulrike! Be sure to catch her while she is exhibiting her artwork during the Rundgang. More information on location and time below.


  • Universität der Künste Rundgang, Opening Thursday July 12th 2012 at 7pm. For the opening night on Thursday July 12th, Ulrike will be in room 203 for a collective group project. From July 13th-15th, she will be exhibiting in her studio (room 244) from 3-6pm.