A collection of art in an effort to tell the truth about the Shoah Holocaust to coming generations.
Thomas D. Bergh
a brave Swedish artist
Already at age 10 he would make his first modern art paintings and collage, depicting war and atrocities . Being born only eight years after the end of WW2 Thomas was living in an after war atmosphere full of stories and war documentaries, he watched on one of the first TV sets in Sweden This would also become a great influence for his art form he today calls “ Documentarist “ Having heard the many stories from his grandmother who had lived through two world wars, and was in the 1930s thrown of the tram in the German city of Dresden where she was living at the time, by two SA men when they saw that she had sawn on a Swedish flag on her coat and her daughters coat instead of the star of David that was demanded by the new Nurnberg laws.
This is when he felt that it was important to tell this story through his art. Thomas was also at an early age exposed to the first documentaries from the liberation of concentration camps and death camps like Dachau and Auschwitz. This would later become one of his main themes in his art and created a need to tell this story to future generations. He has worked on his “Shoah” art trying to tell the story of the holocaust for over 30 years. He was chosen to exhibit at the first Holocaust conference held at the Stockholm Culture house in 2000 and in 2008 he had Auschwitz Birkenau closed down for one day to be able to make his short movie “Silent white hell “ In 2015 he had a large multimedia exhibit titled “ Stunde Null “ to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the and of WW 2 and the battle of Berlin and Hitler’s suicide in his bunker. This resulted in a series of portraits titled “Face of Evil “ using Adolf Hitler as the raw model for all kinds of evil in the world. He also exhibited another new series of works titled “ Deadly Logos “ based on the logos of world corporations that profited on WW2 and the Holocaust and that today are involved in the new evil of world terrorism.
Thomas works are both, direct and at the same time satirical and informative in structure, and they carry with them both the awareness of the deep darkness in human nature as well as a shining light of hope for man kind.
If there is any “leitmotif” that soaks through D. Bergh’s works -it is “History”, but not only the presence, but the whole 20th century from the Nazi genocide and the Holocaust, to the slaughter in Vietnam, the fall of Soviet Empire’s, the Berlin Wall, the massacre at the Tiananmen Square, the war against Iraq. Those are not easy topics to portray but art after all shouldn’t be about easy subjects. Many artists in the history like Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Delacroix, Goya, and Picasso that we know so well were all stimulated by the image of war . Dellert manages to form these historical events into a personal reality.
Dellert’s oeuvres are full of outspoken humanistic motives inspired by his international surrounding and events that have formed, and Is ,forming all our lives
Neither literature nor art would have any meaning or reason of existence without a human involvement. For if its the Buddha statues in Afghanistan being destroyed by Talibans, or Babylon’s ancient walls in Iraq ruined by American tanks, it is “History” - history linked to the private life of every one of us. This relation is something, which is clearly evident in the art of Thomas D. Berght.
In Berg’s vast production, which excels from hand printed silk-screens, photomontage, paintings to short films, and photography.
The Dark Side of History in Art
“A Place in History”
Like the spirit of energy intense, strung tight with boundless supply, with focus that burns most deeply into the mind, this nucleus of uncontrived unfitted and most complexed genius came here, delivered his message, and this whom his thoughts could touch are still as smouldering ruins.
This man Thomas D.Bergh is ten times the power of many of the other artists of his generation. He has the energy of a man half his age and his art is many times the force of a laser beam or an army of artists. He dead not tap you gently upon the shoulder and mutter “ remember Auschwitz “ no he grabs you by the nigra substantia and dangles you before the awful memories of Holocaust and human indecency. And he dead it with collage and contents of which are rare and actual memorabilia of the unbelievable creators of that sickening and sinful Nazi philosophy. He hunts down labels and posters and permits af death and ancient photographs ( if not he’s own ) he stamps them with strident orders, using the original rubber stamp Of the SS and then more he shouts “ Wake Up ! “ you generation of sloth’s, you computer and TV game addicts , wake up and see, the road you taking now is backwards and will lead to death. Stop now or history will be repeated. Irony, satire and sarcasm and pointed jibes at our human failings are some of the tools of his statements. He takes two portraits the heads ripped apart, and he portrays the repaired picture stitched coarsely back, like the rapid stitches of an overworked surgeon working overtime upon the shredded and bleeding wounded of a nearby battle field, the wrong head to each boy. An ironic statement that points an accusing finger at incompetence and thoughtlessness in our careless times.
This man is all truth and every fiber a passionate artist. I took him to see the Robert Rauschenberg exhibit at the Helander gallery, for this sone of his mentors. I shall review this exhibition soon, but upon my first glance his pictures and collages seemed top contain a very gentle beauty that made “my artistic rebel “ appear as a Titan by comparison. Perhaps age is creeping upon me too quickly. And as I drove away I felt spent and weary, incapable and sterile. The little energy that remained within me was drained with humble admiration for an almost unknown artist whose place in history of art is reserved and waiting for him.
Art critic at Miami Chronicles.
The importance of being courageous in your art
It is difficult to choose a work that has more edge than another in Thomas D. Bergh’s substantial oeuvre- and let me say that he excels at all techniques, whether we refer to his silk screens in the Andy Warhol technique, his photo montages, paintings on canvas, his old school photography, his collages or his video art. If we take for example the work about the Swedish Holocaust hero Raoul Wallenberg titled Silent Track 1979. There Thomas has taken his own photograph from the last meters of railroad tracks leading to Auschwitz Birkenau. The artist has given itv a yellowish color that connotes the color of the star of David worn by all Jewish people during the Nazi years of occupation of Europe. Thoma’s silkscreen paper has than been beaten severely to resemble the wounds inflicted from torture by the fanatical and cruel SS. Still this work of art has a serene suggestive beauty. The last meters before death. What its left of this genocide today..a fragment of cloth, a few meters of innocent railroad track. Is that all that remains ? No! The importance of our collective memory, is to never forget what happened, to tell the story over and over again, to try to prevent it from being repeated. That is what Thoma’s. Image is trying to do.
Any of the different series of works we look at are on a high level of artistic craftsmanship.
And what makes these world so exciting and tantalising is the authentic energy that they transmit and as we observe and immediately feel.
To pass an artist like Thomas D. Bergh is difficult. It is absolutely clear that he is one of the most interesting Swedish artist we have today. Probably he will soon become one of the more well known Swedish artist on the international art scene. Not only because his work touch us, or are artistically expressive or because they talk about us in our time, epoch and future. But mostly beacuse they shine of that courage that carries art and life forward.
Jonas Stampe Art Critic and Curator