Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Dialogue on Contemporary Art Collecting between London and Berlin

Thanks to Elizabeth Neilson of 176/Zabludowicz Collection we had the opportunity to enjoy an inspiring discussion with colleagues from London-based private collections and foundations. 176 had invited Kerstin Niemann and me, Anna-Catharina Gebbers, to introduce the group to a number of Berlin-based private contemporary art collection/foundation spaces and to some designated characteristics of the Berlin art landscape. The ensuing discussion was a fruitful exchange of knowledge, thoughts and idea, and thus a valuable contribution to our understanding of each other. 

Collecting is a fascinating topic, because the processes of collecting and the structures of collections are as diverse as the different collectors and their motivations, because it mirrors a variety of psychological, social and political aspects of society, and - last but not least - because the collecting of art reflects and strengthens art‘s significance. Each collection is not only a collection of artefacts, but also a collection of knowledge, strategies, concepts, different processes of production and exchange – as well as a condensation of the historical society conditions and the societal relevance of art: These invisible collections Kerstin and I would like to gather. 

With our research project we aim to take some of these issues under the examination of a magnifying glass. This includes on the one hand the local peculiarities of a country or a city: With Kerstin's London contribution on projects such as the Berlin Biennial, we introduced some characteristics of Berlin which are influential to the success of Berlin‘s art world. On the other hand, we are interested in tangible protagonists and collectors, who we presented in London with my lecture: My selection of six Berlin-based contemporary art collections, who make their collections available to the public regularly, diversified a range of different collection motivations, collection sizes, forms of presentation and organisation forms . 

The selection process and the presentation of artefacts are influential in regard to their general esteem as well as a network of opinion leaders is. And as I have examined these connections since 2005 with several exhibitions around the theme of collecting for different institutions (4th berlin biennial, Heidelberger Kunstverein, Sammlung Sander Berlin, Forgotten Bar Project, Berlin, 176/Zabludowicz Collection, London), and since I‘m currently working on a publication about this subject (Wert-Schätzung, Verlag für moderne Kunst, Nürnberg), I‘m in particular interested in the various social processes and the different forms of public presentation. Therefore my questions in London were correspondingly focussed on different notions of the public sphere, social responsibility, forms of governance, and their foundation in historic structures, which result in different forms of mediation programs. The subsequent discussion offered to Kerstin and me a revealing insight into the country-specific needs and attitudes. The cultural specificity of a country shape the processes of opinion formation, public staging of art, the exploration of art and the positions of private, public and corporate collections in the field of art.

Anna-Catharina Gebbers, 31st of May, 2009

No comments:

Post a Comment