Sibylle Bergemann . Polaroids
2 July to 4 September 2011
Opening Friday, 1 July . 7 pm
"It’s the fringes of the world that interest me, not its center. The noninterchangeable is my concern. When there is something in faces or landscapes that doesn’t quite fit." Sibylle Bergemann
The present moment is fleeting, fragile, intimate, and difficult to hold on to. The instant and eternity—nowhere are they so close together as in the Polaroid, the instant photo that is ephemeral precisely because it fades with time. Sibylle Bergemann used this medium with lyricism and empathy to capture the contours of the moment, and the result is a body of dreamlike and sensitive documentary works that take a stand against forgetfulness. The oscillation between the various levels and the quality of transience are unmistakable in all her photographs—from the melancholy black-and-white photographs of Berlin in the 1960s to the faded color Polaroids, and finally to the color prints taken after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
The way Bergemann took a photograph revealed her attitude toward life: she was infinitely patient, calm, and attentive. Sibylle Bergemann took each person who stood before her camera seriously. She never embarrassed them by exposing their weaknesses or flaws. This allowed her to develop an exceptional intimacy with those she photographed. At the same time, however, she subtly played with the viewer’s gaze, with the feelings of desire and nostalgia.
In this exhibition, C/O Berlin presents 140 Polaroids by Sibylle Bergemann, making this the first time that such a large number of these unique works have been shown publicly. The broad scope of the exhibition offers a distinctive overview of the work of one of the most important female photographers to have come out of Germany, paying homage to the artist, who passed away in November 2010. A catalog published by Hatje Cantz will accompany the exhibition.