Sibylle Bergemann (1941–2010) is one of the most important German photographers of the last decades. The East Berliner first became known as a fashion photographer, but she was also an important exponent of the photographic essay and a close observer of social reality. ‘I'm interested in the edge of the world, not the middle’, said Bergmann once. ‘For me, it is the non-interchangeable that is important. When something isn’t quite right in faces or landscapes.’ The social context plays a central role in her work. Her pictures are shaped by the critical examination of the GDR. Her photographs are not just pictures, but provide information about reality. They interpret reality and take a stand. They become symbols, reflect histories and play with the viewer’s longings. Bergemann wrote photo stories with her pictures.
The exhibition ‘Sibylle Bergemann. Photographs’ presents the complete work of the artist. Bergemann worked with series, but also documented topics over a longer period of time. Focal points of her work are fashion and portrait photographs, created for the magazines ‘Sibylle’ and ‘Geo’. She began focusing on situational and scenic images in Berlin in the late 1960s; later followed scenes of New York, Paris, Tokyo and São Paulo. For many years she worked with Polaroids and, until 1990, mainly in black and white. She is one of the few photographers who uses colour not as an illustrative but as a constitutive element. After German reunification, Bergemann co-founded the agency Ostkreuz and became a member of the Academy of Arts in Berlin.
Renate Schubert, Franziska Schmidt, Betty Fink and Ursula Zeller in collaboration with Sibylle Bergemann