KEYS TO INTRODUCE YOUNG PEOPLE TO ART COLLECTING

Art has its own value in each area or attribute that makes up its full meaning: it has cultural value, aesthetic value, historical value, personal value, emotional value and economic value.

Art collecting is a polyhedral practice that includes all these attributes in its final praxis. Despite the economic value that art has by itself, depending on fixed and known elements, it also depends on subjective and ephemeral values, on the sensations transmitted to the buyer, on the look that is deposited on a piece and the link that arises with it. In analogy, we could say that the acquisition of an artwork is the beginning of a committed relationship that occupies space, a time and an emotion inhabiting with its existence a concrete place.

Miguel Vallinas

Suppe n 29, 2019

Photography

70 x 70cm

According to Claude Lévi-Strauss "this avid and ambitious desire to take possession of the object for the benefit of the owner, or even the spectator, constitutes one of the most original features of the art of Occidental civilization" (Mythologies, 1971). This idea put forward by the French anthropologist makes us reflect on ownership in art, on how the contemporary subject looks at objects and how this impulse of ownership is also developed from capitalism. This ostentation of property goes back especially to the Renaissance when artistic images were not only instruments of knowledge but also of possession, wealth and political advertising. Today it is still a contemporary scene, art collecting has a clear economic value that is developed in investment and personal appropriation as an indication of social status, but despite this, we cannot forget that there exists and is very relevant, the passionate collecting, an enthusiastic look that moves away from an exclusively economic materialization.

Carlos Tárdez

Fakir, 2018

Resina policromada y cuerda

10.5 x 9.5cm

Onay Rosquet

Tuesday, 2018

Oil on canvas

80 x 80cm

Several reports in the recent years, such as the one produced in 2017 by the La Caixa Foundation on The Spanish Art Market, show that one of the main challenges is to find new collectors. According to this same report, 40% of purchases in the galleries came from new buyers. To get started in collecting is a complex task for which it is necessary to activate a strategy of impulse from the diverse cultural agents. Galleries, institutions, art fairs or artistic consultancies are key elements to generate a network of initiation to collecting. Likewise, we must not forget that the greatest challenge lies in creating the real possibility of including the youngest in this practice.

One of the most attractive niches in the art market for the young segment is urban art. Thanks to the cultural proximity, the closeness of the streets which this style originates and in many cases the co-ethnic nature of the artists, it is easy for the first artistic acquisitions to be triggered from here. In Art Madrid, we have artists who fit into this style, as we believe that it is unequivocally necessary for urban art to be included in fairs and exhibitions because of its intrinsic artistic value and the inclusive effect it generates on the younger generation.

Okuda San Miguel

Grey Skull, 2018

17-ink hand-printed by Inkvisible Prints on 220 g pink fabriano paper

70 x 50cm

Roberto López Martín

Sísifo, 2018

Cera y grafito sobre papel

21.5 x 31.5cm

The first challenge we face is the change of mentality. Getting rid of some premises that have been so socially entrenched about who can and should be collectors. To dismantle the need for economic fortune, family tradition, specialist knowledge or social class. It is necessary to question this so assimilated structure, to eliminate labels in order to start including other social groups that are potential art collectors.

José María de Francisco y Luis Caballero, in the prologue to his exemplary text Conversations with Contemporary Art Collectors (Madrid, 2018), defines contemporary art collecting as "a phenomenon in which three forces operate that come from three ancestral domains of human desires and needs embodied in Greek mythology by the three graces of Zeus: beauty (Algae), social habit (Eufrosine) and material wealth (Talia)". We can then extract, that it is from these three forces that we must begin to build the steps to follow.

Guim Tió Zarraluki

Travesia, 2019

Oil on linen

60 x 73cm

Learning to see, to look and to contemplate. Loving beauty and expanding our knowledge of it. It is possible to educate the eye through practice, developing this social habit with visits to museums, galleries and art fairs. Thus, it is also very useful to talk to artists or experts who can advise and guide us in the learning, to be able to establish our own vision of beauty as a subjective desire but strengthening it in some bases of artistic knowledge.

Mari Quiñonero

No.86, 2018

Pastel sobre papel

27 x 21cm

PichiAvo

Perseo, 2017

Mixed media on wood

120 x 120cm

Social habit is part of the tradition where many families continue inherited collections or start collecting thanks to the educational background they have received since childhood by being regular visitors to spaces dedicated to the art exhibition. But, like almost everything, it can be trained and extended if we practice it with a certain frequency based on the desire for knowledge and visual enjoyment.

Jorg Karg

Pont Neuf, 2020

Digital print

75 x 55cm

Finally, material wealth is the most complex factor we face. We could establish a long reflection about it, finding an endless number of nuances and positions contrary to the possession of the artistic object. But assuming that we start from the idea of the passionate collector as referred before, and starting from some economic scales to be able to activate the purchase, we must also observe that it is not necessary a fortune to open up the acquiring some works of art. Starting with emerging artists but with international recognition and knowing the art market in the most independent way without getting carried away by fashions is essential when it comes to detecting good buying opportunities.

In recent years, foundations, fairs and specialised companies have begun to develop advisory programs to promote the ecosystem of contemporary art. Purchases from €600 onwards establish a whole programme of guidance and accompaniment to include new generations and social classes in collecting.

In Art Madrid we have a wide range of prices for the works on display, thus, reaffirming our commitment to attract and involve a diverse public and strengthening the role of Art Madrid as a tool for social links and education.

 

Buying the first work of art always instils respect. A difficult feeling to define that mixes vertigo with adrenaline. But over uncertainty and caution, a pleasurable sense of connection, understanding, and desire prevails. That work that, once seen, stays in the mind, reappears in the memory several times a day and seems to tell you that it is willing to be part of your home, is the perfect candidate to make the decision.

In the first steps, many collectors do point out that one does not start from an established plan, but rather that one acquires pieces based on taste and the connection one feels with them until, after time, they realise that the volume of works that accumulates can be labelled as a "collection". For example, this is how Alicia Aza explains it:

“I was not aware that I was collecting until many years later when a third party named me as a collector and talked about my collection. In 2005, I became aware of what collecting means and decided to articulate a collection with an identity of criteria and formats”.

Marcos Martín Blanco, co-founder, with his wife Elena Rueda, of the MER Collection, shares this same opinion:

“Collecting has been a passion, driven by a visceral state that encourages you to do so. The collection, in terms of acquisitions, has not been particularly complicated because, let's face it: it is easy to buy because they are all beautiful things and you have some clear idea of where you want to go, but at first those preferences were not so clear. It is with the time that a criterion is being formed”.

It is not always this way, of course, but for the buyer who starts out on this path, the personal connection that entails the first piece is essential. There it is the germ of a lasting relationship that is not limited to a simple aesthetic question but is an open window to knowledge, to exploration, to a world that is often unknown to us and awakens our fascination. The seed of that connection is purely sentimental, and it is precisely this impulse that determines the first acquisitions. The first piece is never forgotten.

Art Madrid'20, photo by Ana Maqueda

Exceeding the usual recommendations made by advisers and agents, rare is the occasion when the art lover decides to buy by pure investment. These paths usually open later, when the volume of pieces is large enough. In addition, there are those who are a bit against this classic concept of the traditional collector, approached from an eccentric, elitist and little accessible vision. On the contrary, art buyers are, above all, art lovers, sentient beings and permeable to creative stimulus who, at a given moment, decide to deepen the relationship they already have with art to take a piece home.

It is not that hard to overcome that small psychological barrier that turns the visitor into a buyer if one approaches the matter from a more personal and intimate perspective than from social consideration. Small-format works, graphic work or serial photography are of great help for this, whose price range, generally more affordable, allows a closer comparison to the daily basis expenses. In this way, the purchase of art falls within the range of feasible activities and becomes something close and possible.

Art Madrid'20, photo by Marc Cisneros

At that moment, a different relationship with art begins, based on pure experience and coexistence with the acquired piece. Perhaps it can be seen as an act of daring, but on many occasions, it is more a matter of necessity and transformation. Collectors also agree that the acquisition of an artwork is an exercise on personal analysis and opening up to a new field of knowledge that was previously alien to us. Alicia Aza explains that the reason she acquired her first piece of video art, by Sergio Prego, is because she did not understand it and because she saw it as a challenge and an opportunity to self-improve. This open window to knowledge creates new connections and bonds with creators, as one of the most fascinating parts of the process. Candela Álvarez Soldevilla explains that

"I think the most interesting thing in the art world is talking to artists. They are people with a special sensitivity to listen and understand.”

And Alicia Aza also says:

"I can share the satisfaction of being able to count on many artists in my circle of close friends today, and that is a long way to go."

Thus, with works that seem acceptable within the horizon of expenses that each one considers affordable, it is easy to find a piece that catches us. Since then, our home also evolves into a space in which art has a permanent place and presence, and there is no doubt that this transforms us inside.

Art Madrid'20, photo by Henar Herguera

Jaime Sordo, owner of Los Bragales collection and founder of the 9915 Contemporary Art Collectors Association, has always defined his relationship with art as a true passion and a vital necessity. For buyers who start on this path, he has the following recommendation:

“It is an essential condition that they feel the need to live with their passion to enjoy the works. Another very important aspect is that before making decisions for purchases, they are informed, so it is necessary to read specialised newspapers and books, visit exhibitions and museums and a lot of contact with galleries, which is an important and very specific source of information of the artists they represent. Finally, the presence in national and international art fairs. All this generates information and training.”

Indeed, fairs have become a good place for discovery because they condense a wide offer and allow diverse and global contact in a concentrated way. For this reason, many new generation buyers start in the context of an event such as Art Madrid, whose closeness and quality constitute a unique opportunity to meet, soak up and feed the passion for art.

(*) quotes taken from various interviews published in public media between 2013 and 2019.