Benjamin Bergmann; Phantom

9 September 2023 - 6 October 2023

Benjamin Bergmann


Ideas and inspiration for a new work don't fall from the sky. Nor do they turn the next corner or jump out at me from an ambush. Rather, it is a mixture of coincidence and the desire to move through daily life with alert eyes whenever I am able to do so.
It can be stated with certainty that it is images that have a lasting influence on a new work. Images of the world, our world, nature, things, villages, cities and life. Images of and about us humans, which for me, in my very personal perception break out of the ordinary; are strange, confusing, irritating and in this way have a lasting effect. They make me think and reflect. They raise questions in me. The bigger the question, the harder to find a possible answer, the better the picture.
In the sense of a competition, the winner is probably the picture to whose question there is no answer, but possibly only more questions. I collect these pictures, put them in small boxes and - since computers have been around - also in digital folders. The folders get different names. Names to sort them by content or also to separate the picture collections from each other in time and place. Frankly speaking, absolutely unsystematic, chaotic and yet somehow helpful.

Of course, I am not alone with such collections. Countless, possibly all artists, have such an archive of photos, newspaper clippings, texts, songs and much more. One of the best-known collections in pictorial form, which consistently accompanies the life of an artist and seems to me like a diary, is "Atlas" by Gerhard Richter.
In the exhibition "Phantom", on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the apartment der kunst, I present part of my personal archive in the form of a spatial collage of black and white and colored images.
Phantom is the unreal appearance, the frightening unknown, the sensory illusion and the mirage.
The exhibition project "Phantom" combines themes and characteristics that overlap with my mental cosmos and thus also play an important role in my work (at least a significant part of it). Images that tell of beauty and a poetry of absence. Events charged with an absurd and seductive aesthetic of decay and transience. Images of light and shadow that are about mistakes and failure, the deception of the senses and the many things that evaporate and cannot be grasped.
Unlike Gerhard Richter's atlas, however, the collection I present is both archive and deception. For images that I have collected over the years are mixed in "Phantom" with the findings of a quick and superficial research on the Internet. Some of them correspond to events and reality, some are posed, digitally manipulated, and snatched from reality.
Which image actually originates from my personal cosmos or my inspiring collection and which images are due to the search for keywords and phenomena on the Internet, becomes a riddle for the viewer. My apparent promise to provide insight into the creation and motivation for a new work of art turns out to be false. "Phantom" is insight and "phantom" is illusion at the same time.

The realization of my intention in the apartment of art is still not clear in my mind. I probably have an inkling of it and have made one or two attempts. Much arises in this very moment (while thinking and writing) and will then show itself, in the apartment für kunst.

Benjamin Bergmann, August 2023