We would like to invite you to participate in a vast and comprehensive enterprise founded by ourselves, Mathias Wille and Laurence Dujardyn in August 2011. Your work has caught our specific attention and answers to the points of interest of this venture. After a number of realizations as resp. a gallerist and curator we have switched our main focus onto another aspect of contextualizing, valorising and distributing cultural products, i.e. building up a collection.
The purpose of this project “The Collection” is to research the hidden mechanisms and motivations with the acquisition of contemporary art and establishing an art collection. In order to do so we contact hundreds of Belgian and international artists, amongst yourself, to buy a work for the symbolic price of 1 euro. The selection process of the exact work will be carried out in dialogue with the artists and if necessary also their representatives.
With each acquisition a contractual agreement is made which states that the acquired work cannot be resold for more than the original price. Even if the market value of the work rises in due, the price will remain the same. As there is only one work within the oeuvre of the artist at the price of one euro, this receives an exclusive character, although it remains very democratically priced. In this way it becomes impossible to fix the artwork as a mere investment or the object of speculation. As such we want to raise questions on the artistic and symbolic vs. economic value of an artwork and the criteria that define the quality of an artwork. In this matter we like to keep in mind the following quote from Belgian collector Anton Herbert: “It’s very bad for a collector to be rich: because he can buy anything, he can buy badly. The challenge is to achieve high results for the artists with little spending.“
Contrary to most private collections our collection will be shown on different locations and in various institutions in Belgium and abroad. The works will not only be presented as elements of a private collection but will be grouped around a common issue in a series of exhibitions. Thus visibility is given to artworks that are normally behind closed doors, whereby the aspect of the price of the work reoccurs. The first presentation of “The Collection” will take place during Art Brussels end of April 2012 in a gallery space in the centre of Brussels. Thus the project will be included in the off program of one of the top five art fairs in Europe, an event where different art players take the chance to manifest themselves in various forms: the art dealers by making half of their turnover for the year, institutions by presenting their most ambitious exhibitions and the collectors by buying new masterpieces from foreign galleries and opening up their private museums to the audience.
The influence of the art collector is larger today than at any other time in history. Collectors have a big impact on the way art is perceived and presented. In many respects the expanded art world offers greater opportunities than ever to collectors of all budgets. There are more galleries, fairs and artists to choose from. Nonetheless the art market is as no other, onto a certain level it is unregulated and the ways in which works of art are evaluated has little to do with the conventions and materials used in their construction. The evaluation of a work depends on the endorsement involving elements from within both the public and commercial sectors. With this project we envision to scrutinize value systems by means of discussions with a number of artists, gallerists, curators and collectors. These discussions will be documented and given a place within the series of exhibitions.
We hope to hear from you soon and sit together to discuss further evolvements within “The Collection”. We are curious to hear your opinions and/or critique and eager to collaborate together. If you have any further questions or for more information don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Laurence & Mathias