German painter Bernd Steinert was born in Wegeleben, a town of roughly 2,500 people in the federal state of Saxony-Anhalt. Getting to know someone goes beyond the place they were born, though, and if you ask him where he is from you will get more than you bargained for. Steinert is more than happy to list the string of villages and towns where he was raised, learned his ABCs, and pursued higher education before looping back toward, and ultimately away from, home. Though he attended university in Potsdam, graduating in 1990, he would pursue further education at the Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design in Halle nearly a decade later.
While he was in Halle, Steinert became a member of the Ramberk Artists’ Association, after which he founded and chaired the arbeitskreis 7kunst, an artist collective. The following years were a whirlwind that ultimately saw Steinert establish the Steinert & Straka Studio in Leipziger Baumwollspinnerei, a one hundred and thirty-three year-old industrial site once known for cotton spinning in Leipzig. Today the “Leipziger Baumwollspinnerei” is one of the most major places for art in Germany. There are more than 100 artists with studios and many prominent galleries.
Steinert paints in two very distinct styles. The first is figurative, featuring cheeky, edgy, and profane characters that echo the contemporary street art of WK Interact. The second style is more reserved, an abstract offering with soothing titles that conjure forth peaceful rooms and the metaphor-laden horizon. It was the latter style of painting that earned him recognition in the annual Chelsea International Fine Art Competition last year. Art, like life, is a progression. We develop, shed old selves, and discover the new. Yet we can hold two opposing truths at once, without contradicting ourselves. If you ask where he is from, Steinert will tell you Leipzig, but he will also tell you Wegeleben, and any of the towns in between. Each answer is true. So it goes with painting. Each style is uniquely his own.