Swedish-born and London-based Erica Bergsmeds has had an extensive career across numerous industries, including photography, fashion, art, and cinematic expression. Her latest curatorial venture, the exhibition ‘AWAKENING: THE JOURNEY TO THE 5TH DIMENSION,’ is a gateway into the depths of human experience and the ethereal.
Art comes from the heart, from a passion or urgency to express emotion and a story from an inner world
Bergsmeds, an award-winning film director and artist, is celebrated for her innovative approach to fine art photography. When it comes to art, Bergsmed’s’ technique of double exposure is not just a method but a dance of imagery, where the human form emerges almost ethereally through a blend of natural and urban tapestries in a rhythmic interplay between people and places is a central theme in her expression. In ‘AWAKENING,’ Bergsmeds embarks on a profound journey.
The exhibition, featuring the works of seven artists, including Bergsmeds herself, delves into the labyrinth of inner turmoil that plagues every soul. It’s a bold exploration of the emotional landscapes that define our existence. Each piece in this collection represents the relentless pursuit of self-discovery and the complexities of the human condition. Bergsmed’s’ contributions to the exhibition are a series of images created in-camera, rather than via post-production manipulation, that is marvellous.
Bergsmed’s’ technique, particularly using brushed silver aluminium as her canvas, adds an otherworldly dimension to her works, emitting a shimmering holographic allure under light and embodying a glamorous finish that accentuates the highlights and textures of each composition. These are not just photographs; they are stories frozen in time, narrating the journey of awakening, a transition from one dimension of existence to another.
Bergsmeds captures the duality of living in two realities simultaneously. The nude figures, caught in perpetual motion and interwoven with elements of nature, appear deep in thought, reflecting the inner turmoil accompanying growth and enlightenment. In this Q&A, Bergsmeds discusses her journey in the arts, curating, and more.
Hi Erica, could you start by introducing yourself to those unfamiliar with your work? Could you share with us how your journey evolved from photography and film directing to also include curation? What inspired this transition?
Erica Bergsmeds: My background includes acting, film, photography and art. I started out as an actress in Sweden, in a sitcom on national TV, which took me to New York studying acting and film directing. After five years of working both in front and behind the camera I took a more serious approach to my love of photography that I had since my teenage years, and embarked on a career in fashion photography, shooting stills and directing fashion films and music videos.
I moved to London, where I have been living for many years, working with titles such as Elle, Vogue, Cosmopolitan, 1883, Love Mag, Virgin and many fashion brands. I’m happiest when I get to be as free and creative as possible in my photography, I love working with double exposure images and that is what took me to my first photography art exhibition in 2017, Emotion in Motion, which explored the nature of connection and social engagement, portraits, printed on brushed aluminum.
I continued to use the same medium for more exhibitions and private commissions for hotels, buildings and private clients. In 2020, I directed my first narrative film, Fallen Dream, a story about female empowerment and a predator being caught by modern technology, social media.
This year I had the urge to do an exhibition exploring the theme “Awakening” about shedding the darkness and moving towards the light, something many can relate to post covid and living in a war filled world. Letting go of low vibration, embracing a higher dimension and who we are, creative light beings wanting to break loose from darkness and bad habits. Having seen so many talented artists around me that inspired this theme, I decided to curate a group show that includes my own work and six other amazing artists, Arietta Chandris, Lydia Smith, Jenny Walker, Evie Jacobs, Roza Horowitz and Nettie Wakefield. The show is hosted by stunning venue Ice Health Cryo on 237 High Street Kensington until end of January.
As someone who has worked across different mediums, how does your creative process differ when you’re photographing, directing a film, or curating an exhibition?
Erica Bergsmeds: I always want to tell meaningful stories as a photographer, director and curator. It’s important to me to use my voice to my best ability, to provoke new thinking and reminding people of light, love, social connection, possibility and to fight for a fair world. When I selected the pieces for Awakenings, I saw a red thread in symbolism and emotions they awoke; even though the pieces are very different, they woke the same message and story in me.
What have been some of the most challenging and rewarding aspects of balancing your roles as a photographer, film director, and curator?
Erica Bergsmeds: Some of the most challenging and rewarding aspects of juggling all mediums would be time, and having more projects I’d like to do than I have time for but it’s rewarding to not be restricted to one area but to have the freedom to express thoughts and visuals in both film and stills. I’m in the belief that you can do anything you set your mind to. I do feel very blessed I get to do what I do.
Your latest exhibition, entitled ‘AWAKENING: THE JOURNEY TO THE 5TH DIMENSION,’ is a group exhibition featuring seven artists, with a focus on the inner turmoil that each person suffers. Can you tell us about the essence of the exhibition, the artists featured, and their work?
Erica Bergsmeds: My six artists’ expressions are very different but tell the same story in my eyes: Lydia Smith’s futuristic AI collaborated Sculptures, Arietta Chandris’s “A Pursue of Perfection A Fools Errand,” a Neon light horse pulling you towards a lighter future, Nettie Wakefield’s crumpled up cigarette packages reading “Artist may live a long and fulfilling life”, Evie Jacobs “Black Leather” exploring the sensory experience and human connection, Roza Horowitz “Passing through the Invisible door” human connection to nature, Jenny Walker’s abstract pencil drawing “Rising” exploring movement of the natural world. My double exposure image on brushed aluminium “Awakening Blue” explores the feeling of living in two realities, wanting to shift to a better world.
Additionally, you’ve contributed a few of your pieces to the show. Can we speak about your mixed-media works titled ‘Awakening Gold’ and ‘Awakening Green’? Could you share the inspiration and message behind these pieces?
Erica Bergsmeds: The images are double exposure, made in the camera, not in post-production; only the black and white areas are made after. I print on brushed silver aluminium, it gives the art a mesmerising finish in highlights and textures, almost a bit holographic, they look great with spotlights. They tell a story of awakening, moving from one dimension to another, the feeling of living in two realities, at the same time. The nude figures are in constant movement, intertwined with nature and deep in thoughts.
Based on your rich experience, what advice would you give to emerging artists and curators who aspire to tell meaningful stories through their work?
Erica Bergsmeds: I would advise any artist and creative to keep expressing from your heart, no matter who is watching, never give up, you are unique and your expression is beautiful. Find other artist to do shows with, if you can’t get in to a gallery, ask stores and hotels to show your art. Keep going, for you.
Looking ahead, are there any new themes or types of exhibitions you are particularly excited to explore? What direction do you see your curatorial work taking in the next few years?
Erica Bergsmeds: In the future I’d like to explore curation themes of empowering, future thinking, and the inner world and also artist collaborations.
Lastly, what does art mean to you?
Erica Bergsmeds: To me art is any form of creative expression in photo, film, paint, drawing, installation or performance. Art comes from the heart, from a passion or urgency to express emotion and a story from an inner world often shaped by the outer world. Art is an important voice.