Gabriel Wickbold

In 2018, the artist and gallerist stuck his name among the hottest newBraziliann artsy scene. Sales success in the last edition of SP-Arte and SP-Arte / Foto (the most important São Paulo art fairs), the carioca sold more than US$ 400,000 in art works. His art arose from the desire to explore the complexity of human experience by mixing fantasy and reality in a way that engages viewers differently than traditional photography. “This line in photography is something that really motivates me, where you do not know where the boundaries of photography and art are,” he says. “This is something that has always stimulated me, the idea of creating a new movement. A mixture of photography, painting and drawing, all at the same time.”

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Without being dazzled by the commercial acceptance of his work, while valuing the business of art, Gabriel Wickbold, 34, knows that being able to express himself through the complexity of the image is fundamental and that remaining in the unconscious of people should be the purpose of every artist. With highly visual effects, his photographs are loaded with themes and questionings and do much more than just attract the look by the extravagant hues.

Wickbold explains that the whole idea of creating a piece centred on the real human figure – using different media – requires a completely different approach to art. “Photography and painting are two different worlds that do not connect so easily,” he notes. “It’s not just about painting the model, it’s about lighting up the model and making it appear on the monitor the way I imagine it, it starts with the painting on the body of the model, so I get the right lighting and then post-production to make colours fit in. There’s a balance I think I’ve really found, where each of us can see the colours in a different way.”

Spending time thinking about the issues he explores in his work, be it the human body or social media, is an important part of his art and his exhibitions. “I’m always thinking about the process”, he says. “It’s a thesis that works around a technical aspect about what I really feel inside. That’s why it usually takes two years to do a series”. As he himself defines, his work is “eye candy”, colorful, fun, pop in the vein, as if it were a sweet eye, easy to understand, appetizing and pleasing to various audiences.

In his first series, “Brasileiros”, the artist spent 45 days in 2006 in the São Francisco River, from the source to the mouth photographing the people living in the region. It was there that he built the imagery repertoire base for all the series that followed. “I’m passionate about the body and how to transform it using a new approach,” says Wickbold. “In ‘Sexual Colors’ (2008), I was really looking for a way to distort this idea of nudity with a different approach. ‘Naïve’ (2012) explored the man-nature relationship. In ‘Sans Tache’ (2014), I talk about how we look at our own scars on our body. We really need to think about how important these scars are in our lives and how they make us who we are as a person. We can not erase them in time. We are just this construction of different possibilities”.

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In 2016, “I am online” discussed the suffocation caused by the internet and the masks we created to survive on social media. His last series, “I am Light – You Are Light” (2018), are an invitation for the viewer to look at himself and seek the understanding that all we really need is within ourselves. His fifth authorial exhibition mixes photographic techniques with the already traditional construction of human installations, made through the painting of models and applications of various elements, such as glitter. The result is an explosion of light emanating from the models. “When we connect deeply with our vital energy, we realize that we are a great universe of possibilities. This motivated me to research various techniques to represent this spiritual enlightenment”, says the artist.