AVRO’s Close Up: Chris Berens, Master of his Magical Universe


Chris Berens is widely considered as one of the most promising young Dutch artists. This documentary follows him during his preparations for his first show in Japan. It shows he gets his inspiration from his inner world.


Chris Berens, Master of his Magical Universe

The animals and creatures that play a major role in his fantasy also populate the landscapes he creates with his painting technique. The creatures that have been around him in Chris Berens’ fantasy since childhood populate the scenes he creates.

His special painting technique is at least as special as his subjects. It results in images that are enchanting, but also ominous. ‘I always look for a moment when things are still pleasant, but things could easily change. That you have the feeling that something might happen, but you have no idea what.’ This is how artist Chris Berens describes the scenes he creates.

Dreamy and disturbing
The creatures he paints – such as polar bears, ermines, tigers, fish and childlike human figures – float or fly in underwater landscapes or against the background of city or natural settings. The atmosphere is dreamy and disturbing at the same time.

Unique creation process
Not only Berens’ paintings are special, the creation process is also quite unique. Berens paints with ink on photo printing paper. He peels off the paper layer so that a painted plastic layer remains. He pastes these layers on top of each other to create the hazy depth that is so characteristic of his paintings.

The documentary Chris Berens. Master of his Magical Universe shows Chris at work in his studio in Amsterdam and in the company of his family. He is followed on a trip to Japan in preparation for an exhibition in Tokyo. The interest in the world of spirits and animated objects that characterizes Japanese culture inspired his most recent series of paintings, Nensha.

Director: Hans Quatfass
Production: Mirjam Nooij for RQB Group
Cinematography: Stijn Brinkmann
Music: STEYE
Sound: Erik Langhout
AVRO final editor: Marijke Huijbregts.

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