Guilherme Bergamini is a Brazilian Reporter photographic and visual artist based in Belo Horizonte.
He is graduated in Journalism and for more than two decades, he has developed projects with photography and the various narrative possibilities that art offers.
The works of the artist dialogue between memory and social-political criticism.
He believes in photography as the aesthetic potential and transforming agent of society.
Awarded in national and international competitions, Guilherme Bergamini participated in collective exhibitions in 30 countries.
Chambre Fluide: Today you are a worldwide acclaimed photographer, but also a father, a journalist...Let's go back in time, how did it all start?
Guilherme Bergamini: In 1996 my uncle lent me his Pentax MX camera. In my grandmother's house, I adapted a black and white photo lab in a small room and started to get to know analog photography; a unique experience in relation to the digital universe in which we live today. From then on I decided to be a photographer and I never stopped photographing.
CF: We are immersed in a culture that sees the Visual protagonist. As a photographer and visual artist, what role does the image play today, and what is an image?
GB: The image moves the entire consumer society.
Its expressive strength is not always consciously coded, being used in adverse ways, which can cause tragic consequences.
In the same way that we learn to read and write, we must learn to read and write images.
CF: Let’s talk about the Izquierda Latinoamericana project, are the streets of Cuba?
GB: These are the streets of Old Havana, a particular place. A country that is rich in cultural diversity but really poor in material goods. A nation where education, health, and security are the main factors that the State provides to its citizens but stagnating in an inhuman economic embargo.
Havana is 93,21 miles from Florida, it has been the scene of ostentation for the American elite and it has lost all its “ostentation” to a Revolution that believed in a more egalitarian society.
CF: Luis Camnitzer, in one of his famous books Didáctica de la Liberación regarding the relationship between life and art in Latin America, says: As an art student in the fifties, belonging to a student body that was as or more militant than the rest of Latin America and immersed in dreams of social change, I discovered that one of the most frequent topics of discussion was that of art could have a real impact on the world. The key question of whether art is a weapon or just an elitist pastime.
What is your position on this?
GB: Art is a political action, to make art is to do politics.
It is a form of resistance that values and is committed to being democratic, accessible to all citizens regardless of their ideologies; that's the way I'd like it to be.
CF: What is the most beautiful moment you have documented in your photos?
GB: There are several moments, each with its own particularity. I can't choose a specific one. My intention is to build narratives that convey a moment, an ephemeral feeling.
CF: Looking at History, many artistic movements in South America such as C.A.D.A. in Chile, or El Grupo Proceso Pentágono in Mexico or the art events Tucumán Arde in Argentina, were born under dictatorial regimes in response to what was happening and art really became a means of expression certainly also under the influence of artistic movements like Fluxus or others related to happenings. Then ahead of time a kind of "soft" political art began to take shape. Some Latin American artists who belonged to the previous artistic generation such as Cildo Meireles, Antonio Dias, and others felt the change respected the Sixties as part of a political culture surrounding "hard" political art. Once this type of operation began to disappear, there remained a space for the object quality of art to take priority again. Do you see a change today in the conception of the work of art in the particular South American social context? And How do you relate to that as a visual artist who uses photography as a medium to investigate and criticize society?
GB: I recognize and admire artistic movements in South America for their political and aesthetic relevance.
I have an admiration for Cildo Meireles and his great installations and I believe that each period of our history has its particularities, its political and social questions, expressed in works of great scope.
After the end of dictatorial regimes in Latin America and the strengthening of freedom of expression, new possibilities in arts have arisen.
Thirty-five years have passed since the end of the military dictatorship in Brazil and the current political situation, we can reach a consensus that we are experiencing a setback.
Brazil is the third country in the world in numbers of deaths from COVID-19, a worldwide shame and I see my work at the moment as an engaged art.
By the end of the year, I will be launching my third photo book, “Carta Branca”, a critique of the coup that took place in 2016 and the inauguration of the new President of the Republic.
In this period of social confinement, there are countless realities, needs, and possibilities.
This sudden change in routine, adaptation to the new, and political helplessness enabled me to create the following works:
The trip of my dreams!, Entirety, Stay at home, it's not a weak flu!, Carta branca, 01/01/2019.
CF: How does your research develop? Where do you collect your inspiration from?
GB: Inspiration is a state of mind! All my work starts with a restlessness. I see it as a dialogue of my life experiences.
CF: In a historical moment when nothing seems to be enough anymore, and the future is more and more uncertain, what are we holding on to? What tears us out of nowhere?
GB: We must be concerned with the nature around us.
Everything is ending, resources are becoming scarce every day.
We can no longer live in a society that seeks its individual interest, leaving aside the collective's vital needs, the other beside us.
We live in a selfish society. The way it is being conducted, I don't expect much…but I express my point of view with my art.
You can find more works by Guilherme Bergamini here