exhibition Selected Photographs: Sibylle Bergemann

Solo by Sibylle Bergemann - ifa exhibition

Photogallery on the Exhibition:
  • Selected Photographs: Sibylle Bergemann | Photo: Amruta Nemivant
  • Opening of the exhibition | Photo: Amruta Nemivant
  • Selected Photographs: Sibylle Bergemann | Photo: Amruta Nemivant
  • Opening night | Photo: Amruta Nemivant
  • Opening of the exhibition | Foto: Amruta Nemivant
  • Opening night | Photo: Amruta Nemivant
  • Opening night | Photo: Amruta Nemivant

Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan Mumbai is pleased to present for the first time in Mumbai, a solo by German photographer Sibylle Bergemann titled Selected Photographs: Sibylle Bergemann, an exhibition by the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (ifa).
Sibylle Bergemann (1941-2010) is considered one of the most influential German artists and representative of GDR (East German) photography in the past decades. She was a master of composition and the ‘conscious use of color’, who worked with various styles of photography, including documentary, portrait, fashion, essay and landscape. Through her work, she has influenced a whole generation of young photographers.
Bergemann co-founded OSTKREUZ - photo agency (1990) and was also a member of the Academy of Arts in Berlin. She was a photographer, who in an often individualistic profession, was always looking for community and fellowship. International photographers such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Helmut Newton and Robert Frank used to meet regularly at her residence in Berlin along with fellow GDR colleagues.
Bergemann’s work, when viewed within the social context of her time, expresses a critical analysis of the reality during the times of the GDR. Bergemann understood photography not as mere depiction, but rather as a medium to shed light on the correlations of reality, while constantly interpreting and commenting on its circumstances. Thus, certain details of her photographs become symbols that reflect subtle stories and nuances of their time, while the viewer, gets drawn into a thoughtful mood filled with eerie, dreamlike states-of-being. The complexity found in these photographs creates the unmistakable, personal style of the photographer.
Working almost exclusively with b/w photography, Bergemann belongs to a group of photographers, who use color as a constitutive element in the construction of a meaning, and not as an illustration device. Bergemann also experimented extensively with Polaroid.
Previously shown at the 'Akademie der Künste' in Berlin and the 'Museum für Photographie' in Braunschweig, this exhibition consisting of 125 silver gelatin prints, c-prints and polaroid pictures comes to India through the Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations, Germany and Goethe-Institut. 

Documentary screening:
Take a Picture – The Photographer Sibylle Bergemann

by Maria Wischnewski and Sabine Michel
(Germany, 2011, 43 minutes)

October 8, 6:15 pm
Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan Mumbai
“Here comes the birdie,” she says and hits the shutter after putting the film in her old camera. In the portrait Take a Picture – The Photographer Sibylle Bergemann by Maria Wischnewski and Sabine Michel, the icon of New German Photography allows the camera to come very close. When Bergemann speaks about her growth behind the camera, the feeling is a tad melancholic. This mood is also often reflected in her pictures. At first, she only took photographs of windows (“I didn’t have the confidence to photograph people”), until while working for the weekly Sonntag she also began focusing her camera on people. Bergemann tells of exciting shootings with the young Katharina Thalbach, her relationship with her mentor and later husband Arno Fischer, and her travels as a citizen of East Germany to the west. A study trip took her to Venice. At the time, all she thought to herself was, “Just get me out of here,” and was happy to be able to turn her back on the GDR for a short time. Bergemann’s stock of old photographs seems endless. Every picture has its very own story. But she does not hesitate to speak abut her illness. Bergemann believes one reason she fell ill with cancer was because she was forced to leave her apartment on Berlin’s Schiffbauerdamm (“my home”) after nearly 30 years. In this film portrait, she talks of self-doubts, happy memories, and her feel for images, saying, “It has to touch me. If there’s nothing there, nothing comes across. It’s that simple.” Sibylle Bergemann died in 2010 at the age of 69.

Frieda von Wild, fashion designer and daughter of Sibylle Bergemann; has first-hand experience of her mother ’s works, she is also the model in some of the phot ographs in the exhibition. Von Wild will speak to the audience about the nuances of the works displayed.

An exhibition by the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (ifa), Germany

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