06.02.21 - 16.05.21
Présenté dans laGalerie du Soir
Bruno Oliveira. Back to Neverland
As part of their partnership, the Belgian newspaper Le Soir and the Museum of Photography have launched La Galerie du Soir. At the same time as each new major exhibition by the Museum, La Galerie du Soir introduces a young artist worth discovering. A wager on the future that has four components: a small but significant exhibition display in the Museum, a portfolio in the magazine Photographie Ouverte, a presentation of the photographer in the pages of Le Soir and a selection of the photographer’s work on the site www.lesoir.be.
For this new edition of La Galerie du Soir, we chose Bruno Oliveira.
Fresh out of La Cambre, the visual arts school in Brussels, with a Master’s degree in photography, Bruno Oliveira is someone who experienced exile at a young age, moving from a tiny village in Portugal to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. If he followed a normal educational pattern, he became interested in the visual field very early in his life. “I began by doing little jobs as an extra for short and feature length films. That was the trigger because I realised that I preferred being behind the camera”. His parents bought him his first camera for his eighteenth birthday. “I still use it today,” he simply says.
While he was studying to become an educator and then working in a children’s school hostel, he continued to explore his passion for photography after work. The second triggering event would be a competition. He took part in a sort of reality show for artists broadcast by the Luxembourg television station, Télé Luxembourg. Without the slightest artistic training, Bruno Oliveira gained a place in the semi-finals. “That was when I said to myself that I had to continue
in that direction and I decided to study photography. Within a month, I dropped
everything and I enrolled in La Cambre”. His decision worried those around him: “People said to me: You’ve never done anything artwise before, you have no chance! I wanted to try all the same. I was desperate at the time of the entrance examinations because they were actually very thorough. I was self-taught. I knew I lacked the basic artistic capacities. I did it the way I felt, migrating towards the portrait, the person, the documentary ... And I was accepted.”
From there, things accelerated extremely fast. Bruno settles in Brussels and goes home to Luxembourg at the weekend. “While I was in my 3rd year at La Cambre, I saw my friends in Luxembourg progressing very quickly in their everyday lives. They started to buy a car, a house ... One day, while visiting Disneyland with friends, we played a game of choosing which Disney character best matched our personality. A girlfriend said to me: you, you would be Peter Pan. You are the one of us who allows himself to dream, to do things we wouldn’t have done. From then on, I started to take photos of my friends in everyday life, often at parties. Slightly melancholic pictures. That reflected what I felt in relation to those around me.”
In Luxembourg, The Casino, the contemporary art forum, launched a triennial devoted to young creation. “I decided to take part and work on the Millennials, that Generation Y, born between 1980 and 1996, since I was part of that generation. I therefore continued to photograph my friends, in Luxembourg, in Brussels, but also when travelling. In Japan, in particular.”
The end result? Pictures looming often from the night but full of colours. “The idea was to create an imaginary country.” A normal thing to be expected of a Portuguese kid exiled in the Grand Duchy and coming to study in Brussels. “My pictures revolve around exile, communities and travels. The interiors of houses also have a great influence on me.”
Faithful to Peter Pan, he goes where the wind leads him. “Most of my pictures are caught live. The elements may give an impression of staging, but it’s usually an accident ... a mistake that makes the thing more interesting. I do not plan what I do.”
Lcing on the cake: for his series “Back to Neverland”, he chose to print in a poster format, in the style of a teenager’s bedroom. Just to emphasise the generational side a bit more.