(b Gunclje, nr Ljubljana, Sept 6, 1933).
Slovenian painter, printmaker, sculptor, illustrator and poet. He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts, Ljubljana, in 1955 and later received his MFA in painting and engraving. He continued his studies in 1959 with Johnny Friedlaender in Paris. After 1970 he taught painting at the Ljubljana Academy. He was one of the most outstanding Yugoslav artists after the early 1960s and won several major international awards, including the Grand Prix of the Tokyo, Ljubljana and São Paulo biennales of graphic art.
Bernik’s early works, such as his series of flat picture surfaces, Magmas, Quarries and Burnt Soil, were influenced by Art informel. In the mid-1960s Bernik was an important exponent of the type of European painting based on the use of words. The Great Letter (1964; Ljubljana, Gal. Mod. A.) combines the devices and texture of Art informel with evocations of Byzantine religious texts. At the same time he was also painting pictures with sensually explicit, almost sculpturally or haptically modelled traditional iconographic objects such as the apple, table and cloth, or bread, or pictures in which a written-out word with its meaning was a substitute for a certain object. Here he was responding to European Nouveau Réalisme, Pop art and conceptualism, and the work of Francis Bacon. In the late 1970s Bernik again dispensed with the object in his pictures, producing a series of abstract paintings entitled ...