Eva Beresin (*1955, Budapest) has lived and worked in Vienna since 1976. Her subversive sense of humor developed over the course of her life. In her paintings, Beresin transforms the everyday horrors of existence into a tender examination of the contradictory nature of human behavior. With her intuitive grasp of the comedy of social transgression, she manages to evoke an infectious sense of relief in the face of tragedy.

The new publication Eva Beresin - Thick Air. The Wedding of Humour and Horror shows a current group of works by Eva Beresin that focus on both private and generally human themes in an expressive and unusual visual language.

In conversation with Austrian supermodel and journalist Cordula Reyer, Eva Beresin talks about new approaches in her artistic production, her growing success as an artist and what Instagram has to do with it. 

Eva Beresin Thick Air. The Wedding of Humor and Horror


Cordula Reyer: How do your paintings come about nowadays compared to before?

Eva Beresin: Before, I used to think about things a lot more and then follow through with my plan. Nowadays I still have an underlying idea, but I also just let things happen. Between my brain and the canvas there’s still my hand, the brush and the paint—there’s a lot going on there, and I tap into all that to achieve my purpose. I collect pictures that I think might help me move forward. I take lots of photos of things I see, a facial expression, a movement, dirt on the tarmac. I have a hundred and forty thousand photos on my mobile phone, in all sorts of folders: by year, by various artists’ work, old black-and-white pictures, a folder with “creatures,” one with hands and feet, etc. Sometimes I take screenshots of films I find interesting. And then I get going.

CR: And the many animals that appear in your pictures?

EB: Animals and humans have taken on so much from one another in the course of evolution. So many characteristics have been exchanged. And that’s how these beings came about. I get an idea and I start painting, and then I quickly have a composition. Composition, color, and story. The instant I realize I’m overthinking it, I change something because I don’t want it to be intellectualized. I want it to flow. For me, planning and thinking things through is a no-no. And if I plan it a hundred times, it will always turn out differently.

CR: Did you have dreams of tremendous success when you were young?

EB: No, I never allowed myself to think that way. Even though I no doubt compared myself to other artists, I never went so far as to call myself an artist. Being an artist was something utopian back then. It’s a fantastic turn of events the way the art world has become so diverse and women artists are now being promoted, exhibited, and appreciated so much.

CR: What kind of role has Instagram played in your work and your success?

EB: A big one. I started posting a lot on Instagram in 2018. I enjoyed it; it was fun. Complete strangers would like it and communicate with me. At some point in 2019 there was a moment of uncertainty when close friends began to tell me how embarrassing they found it that I was posting so much on Instagram and urged me to think again. I was close to deleting my account when other close friends encouraged me to carry on. Absurdly, just a few hours after that wave of uncertainty, I received ten text messages out of nowhere from an ominous Kenny Schachter: “I love your works! Who are you? Where do you live? Are you gay? How old are you? Do you have children? Are you married? How long have you been painting? Are they on canvas? Why have I only come across you now? How much do they cost?” He started collecting my work and, three months later, invited me to an art fair in Los Angeles, the Felix Art Fair, where he showcased my works. That’s how it all started. And very soon I found myself drifting into those international circles of art collectors, curators, and galleries.

CR: It was a similar story for me with modelling. I’d already been working a lot with Helmut Lang, but it wasn’t until I was booked for American Vogue with Steven Meisel that I found myself in a completely different league.

EB: Yes, it really is very special. Until then, I had Miryam Charim as my gallerist in Vienna. So many people dream of having such a renowned gallery in Vienna. For me, that’s been a reality since 2015. And then this whole international thing. I couldn’t believe it and sometimes I still can’t. What can I say, it’s like a fairy tale.

CR: So, do you now get an exhilarating feeling of happiness when you attend the openings of your exhibitions?

EB: It’s overwhelming and thrilling. Those New York and Ibiza exhibitions—it was crazy, absolutely crazy! Such crowds! Inside the gallery, in front of the gallery, everywhere! And everyone looking at me. Speaking of which: What’s it like being looked at your whole life?


Eva Beresin Thick Air. The Wedding of Humor and Horror


You can find the entire interview in our publication Eva Beresin - Thick Air. The Wedding of Humour and Horror.

Eva Beresin Thick Air. The Wedding of Humor and Horror

Image credits: © Peter M. Mayr

Veröffentlicht am: 22.05.2024