This year we had 38 contemporary art professionals and art collectors participating in panel discussions and presentations in the Talks section of the viennacontemporary. Here you can watch the highlights of the Keys to the Contemporary Art, curated by Kate Sutton and Collectors Forum, curated by Julien Robson.
While the image of private collections going public is dominated by larger museum formats, like those in the “Miami model”, many collectors open their collections to audiences in a more intimate and perhaps more personal way. Highlighting two di ering approaches, this conversation explores the motivation to collect, what makes an artist valuable to a collector, and what motivates a collector to share their collection publicly – with whom and why?
Already having collected contemporary art for over a decade, in 1996 Isabelle and Jean-Conrad Lemaȋtre began to focus on collecting video art. They started by acquiring works by well known figures and, over time, have come to focus more on emerging artists. Twenty years on they have created one of the most significant collections of video art in the world. Talking about their origins as collectors and the vision they have developed, the Lemaȋtres will also discuss their philanthropic activities, supporting young artists and promoting video art to broader audiences through their work with the “LOOP” video fair in Barcelona and the “Video Video” festival they founded in Burgundy.
Beginning in the late 1980s, Juan Vergez and Patricia Pearson-Vergez have gone on to build a collection of international contemporary art that is world renowned. As well as presenting and rotating their collection in Tacuari—a four storey building which used to be a former ink factory in the center of Buenos Aires—they actively collaborate with museums and lend works to important exhibitions. In this conversation Patricia Pearson-Vergez discusses the history and focus of the Vergez collection, the couple’s relationships with artists and institutions, and how and why they share their collection with the public.
The public life of artworks and images is becoming increasingly precarious today. From acts of iconoclasm to increased forms of censorship, what we can see, hear, feel, and share in public is subject to increasing political, social, and spatial constriction – from both the violence of global terror and the repression of conservative politics. What is the threat posed by images and sculptures that they should be the focus of contemporary forms of violence and crime, that the publicness of art should be so constricted? What defines our public relation to the images that live in our pockets and permeate our lives, that we touch and like, and the global art that fills the walls of the contemporary art institutions? Do we have a responsibility with caring for, and defending, the public life of the imagination? Curator João Ribas will attempt to answer some of these questions, before a conversation with writer Kate Sutton.
This September saw biennales simultaneously opening in São Paolo, Gwangju and Bergen, sending art-worlders scrambling to be everywhere and see everything, all at once. Ubiquity and access have been equated with expertise, and every project – no matter what scale – must, to some extent, address this international audience. Is there still value to be gleaned from this kind of system? What kind of knowledge are we creating? Are there ways to champion deeper engagement with a single scene while still acknowledging the overarching global context? These are some of the questions to be discussed with respected curators Dirk Snauwaert and Abaseh Mirvali, curator of this year’s Solo Expanded at viennacontemporary.
If language is the means through which histories and national narratives are built, then language is also the tool that can help alter these histories. Moderated by writer and critic Bharti Lalwani, this conversation looks at how public information is shaped, regulated and manipulated through language, with insight from linguist Kevin Kenjar, who has been researching how subtle linguistic shifts can form communities, artist Shubigi Rao, who recently published the first installment of the five-volume book, “Pulp: A Short Biography of the Banished Book”, and Ștefan Sava, an artist who has been actively engaged in excavating suppressed narratives from the recent history of Romania.
Since its beginnings in the 60s, video has become one of the preeminent media of contemporary art production, equalling the importance of classical media like painting and photography. This is evidenced by the fact that a vast majority of contemporary art exhibitions feature at least one video projection. Even though many important galleries represent one or more artists working in new media, video art is still facing a lot of problems trying to assert itself on the art market. From very early on, certain questions or even reservations have been persistent when it comes to purchasing a work of art shot on video: What do I actually get? How can I be sure that what I get is an original work? What may I do with the purchased work? To whom may I show it? The panel will discuss these and other problems surrounding the topic of video art some 50 years after its beginnings and tries to find solutions.