Angeliki Kim Jonsson in Interview with Contemporary Art Collectors
It's very rare that I'm on the other side of the table. Answering the questions, instead of asking them.
Below is my latest interview with Contemporary Art Collectors.
Angeliki Kim Jonsson is the Founder of DYNAMISK Curating and Art Advisory.
Alongside the curating & advising activity she also runs the ‘Art Blog’ where amongst other ‘short style essays’ she shares her “In Conversation with..” a series of conversations she has had with different people from the art world, on and around topics of art. On Instagram, under the same name ‘Dynamisk’ she poses in front of art and share art works from her ‘all time favourites’ to newly discovered artistic talents. On a Sunday she visually curates her #SundayBlues which is a weekly edit that features a ‘blue’ art work on a Sunday. Recently she just launched #ThursdayArtQuiz which is a quirky quiz inspired to promote art and art history and making learning about art fun! You can also follow her on her many exhibition visits, previews, projects and to artist studios. Angeliki is currently based in London.
CAC: Where does your interest in art originate?
AK: At a young age of 12 I auditioned and got accepted to a musical school program in Sweden. In continuation of that I attended a high school which offered a Dance program, my major was in ballet, jazz, street/ hiphop and modern dance. So I guess you could say that I’ve always had an artistic vein running in me (my grandfather on my mother’s side was a painter) but it wasn’t until I went to University where I would really focus on Art history. I took a summer course at Franklin University (in Lugano, Switzerland) which ran for six weeks it was called “Picasso and His Life.” Once I got a taste of that, there was no way back and I enrolled as a fulltime Art History major. Eventually I moved from Lugano to London, where I continued my studies in Art history adding a ‘Visual Culture’ major as well.
Here my passion in art could really blossom and be further explored, because of what the city offers as London is one of the art capitals in the world there is a consistent flow of art, the only problem is there is so much to see you will never have time for it all! In 2017 I finished my degree here and I think having the experience of two universities and eventually graduating from London have prepared me well for working in the art world.
CAC: Based on your experience, can you give an explanation as to why people begin to collect art?
AK: There is an entire science behind the phenomenon of collecting. From a psychological perspective the Freudian school argues that the need for people to collect roots all the way back to our childhood and the need to have “an object of desire” which in turn reflects upon the need of control. Then there is the theory of Jung, who argued that collecting is directly linked to our ‘collective unconscious’ in this belief people become collectors as a sort of ‘preventive measure’ where our ancestors collected and stored food for survival, we collect as to when or if there would be a big change in our lives, then we would have our collection to rely upon. From a personal stand point, I think the striving reasons to why people collect art are simply the great two: for passion and as means of investment. So some collect for the ‘thrill of the hunt’, for speculation, and others for the passion as grand connoisseurs. However, at times the motives for collecting art are not mutually exclusive, rather, different motives combine for each collector for a multitude of reasons. As the reasons are many and very different so are the collectors and I think it is important to build an art collection that reflects upon the collector him/herself. I also believe that passion has to be the main motivating factor for collecting art and you can tell when it is. Because with passion comes interest, to research and learn and with this sort of interest comes knowledge that becomes a vital part of the art collection.
CAC: Emerging art is a tricky thing. How are you able to identify potential?
AK: Emerging art is a tricky thing and it can be quite difficult to identify potential, so as it is important to follow your passion and what is aesthetically pleasing to you. I think it’s great to have professional help when you’re looking to acquire art. From someone, who can lead you and do the research (which is time consuming) but really essential. Research really is everything. You need to stay up to date on the very latest in the art world but not only, the scope of your research should be much wider than that, as art is often used as a communication tool to what is happening in society it is equally important to stay updated on the global, socio-political situation, (and not to mention the financial.)
Looking at art and art movements through art history one can see a strong link between art and society as it often mirrors what is happening in society and I believe successful artists pick up on this relationship. Such as Andy Warhol and Pop art which commented upon the new emerging pop culture and consumerism, which also essentially became the main focus of his art.
Or take Abstract Expressionism (1940- 1950s) which emerged as an art movement after the Second World War and the Great Depression in America. These artists were committed to art as expressions of “the self” born out of profound emotion and universal themes. Shaped by the legacy of Surrealism, that art should come from the unconscious mind, their aim was to make art that while abstract, it is also expressive or/and emotional in its effect. This new art style was fitted to the post-war mood of anxiety and trauma to the time period of its evolvement. Today two of my favourite contemporary artists are Barbara Kruger and Adam Pendleton, whose art address important issues in our society often through a political message in written text. However, a successful emerging artist doesn't necessarily need to be political nor figurative, or even ‘tell a story’ to be important. But they need however to be connected to their time and the art and artists that manages to leave their mark, to have some sort of imprint, they are the ones that will make it into art history and ultimately they are the ones to collect. I think we will all associate 2018 to #MeToo as it was an important movement against sexual harassment and sexual assault that spread and grew roots in many different fields. As a positive effect, and perhaps as a result of such movement, there has been a rise in demand of collecting female artists last year. Important art institutions as The Guggenheim in New York and Tate Modern in London, both hosted important female solo shows, with Hilma af Klint and Anni Albers. A Los Angeles Times headline in December reads “In 2018, female artists finally outnumbered men in L.A museum’s solo shows.” This rise of interest in female artists is a rise that I personally (and as a female advocate in all fields) hope will continue, rather than passing as another current art trend. It is well about time female artists are acknowledged and recognized. Therefor my advice is to learn more about, research the work of and collect female artist.
CAC: What role does the collector play in the world of today's contemporary art?
AK: The collectors role is really significant and I think the relationship between collector and artist is something very special. As an art curator and art advisor it is truly a privilege to be a part of and many times even initiate that relationship. Therefore, my logo for DYNAMISK is a triangle. It is a symbol that represents the relationship between: art curator, artist/artwork and collector. (I also like the fact that when turning the triangle upside down you can see a ‘V’ which for me relates back to V for Venus and the celebration of the female.) There are many different pivotal actors within the art world, the art dealer, the collector, the museum (as an institution who often host milestone shows such as artists retrospectives), the curator, the critic and the academic. Who all have different roles and tasks, from cataloguing the artist works, to writing about the artist. We all play different roles in the sustaining, maintaining and foremost supporting of artists. A while ago I read an article in Forbes, that quotes Art dealer Dominique Lévy “In the artists we represent, I find an innocence that has touched my soul and made me want to be an advocate and ambassador for them. I find motivation and unconditional commitment in these relationships.” I believe this is a prime example of what an art dealer and gallery should portray and eventually that becomes also the extended role of the collector, who “takes over” once the art work goes from the dealer to the collector. As it is very honourable to collect the masters, it is a great responsibility to collect emerging art and that is worth to take pride in. However as a collector, to any sort of collection (established, midcareer or emerging) I think essentially the role is this, nurture, safe guard, support and celebrate. That’s all.
CAC: What do you think of the art fair boom that has taken hold in recent years?
AK: The art world is ‘booming’ and it seems as more and more people are becoming interested in art and generally I think that’s a great thing. Especially the growing interests from second generation collectors or completely new collectors interest from the non-western world, such as the Middle East and Asia. Today there are more art fairs and biennales and art galleries than ever before. Every big city today has its own art fair and that is a change that has happened only in recent years. When speaking to Matthew Slotover, who is the co- founder of Frieze Magazine and Frieze Art fair. He told me that when they first launched Frieze in London 2003 there were no other art fair in London. This makes you reflect upon and understand that a lot has happened only in 15 years. So I think the ‘art boom’ is great, I’ve always been a big fan of the art fairs and quoting Hans Ulrich Obrist “they are great places for research” and I truly agree. I enjoy the art fairs because they offer a wide spectrum of artistic talent, from the established, midcareer to the emerging artists. Take Art Basel in Basel for example, alongside Art Basel runs ‘LISTE’: “Since its founding in 1996, the LISTE has become one of the most important fairs for mainly new, but also for a medium generation of galleries. The LISTE focuses on presenting young galleries, with mostly young, yet little-known artists. Every year around 80 galleries from more than 30 countries present themselves - of which about 15 galleries will be presented. The LISTE has set itself the task of promoting these new galleries and introducing them to an international specialist audience.” So on one hand you have Art Basel with the world’s leading galleries, art dealers and artists and on the other LISTE, where you can explore and uncover new potential and emerging artists. There are so many art fairs today and I would recommend visiting both the established ones, (nationally and internationally,) as well as the smaller ‘local fairs’. Like that you will have access to a variety of art works, as well as a wider overall understanding of the contemporary art world today.
CAC: Which 5 emerging artists should we be keeping a look out for in 2019?
AK: There are so many great up and coming talents and it feels like I am continuing to discover new ones every day but if I would need to highlight five artists who are on the rise and ‘must follow’ this year it would probably be
Chloe Wise (b.1990) I’ve followed her for a few years on Instagram and I am just amazed by her art, she masters a skill of figurative painting that is really impressive. Chloe Wise is a Canadian artist that is based and works in New York. She specializes on painting and drawing, but her practise spans on a diverse range of media also including, sculpture, collaging and digital art. She’s represented by Almine Rech gallery.
Loie Hollowell, is the youngest artist that Pace gallery ever signed (she’s born in 1983). Her latest series “Dominant/ Recessive” which I saw at the Pace gallery in London last autumn, explores themes of sexuality and pregnancy. Portrayed often through abstractions of the human body and evocations of sacred iconography. Her paintings are three dimensional and she’s brilliant when it comes to the usage of colour combinations.
William Monk, is another artist that is also signed with Pace gallery (and Grimm gallery) Monk’s style of painting is dynamic and vibrant. It is said he often works “in extensive series that gradually evolve over time.” I think he is an interesting artist to follow because he has a very distinct yet personal style, and I believe that is important when you look at an artist. Someone that is confident in exploring but through that exploration creates their own path, that essentially becomes their trademark.
Jennifer Guidi is a painter who lives and works in Los Angeles. She paints abstract sand paintings, which are energetic in colour, reminding the viewer of a beautiful abstract sunset, a galactic outer space or a vivacious coral reef. There is something very meditative with Guidi’s art. She had a solo show at the Gagosian Gallery in Hong Kong last year and is currently in a group show at MOCA.
Juno Calypso, is a British contemporary artist. Not very unlike Cindy Sherman she works with photography and uses herself as a model under the pseudonym ‘Joyce’. Dressed as a fictional alter-ego, in unusual surroundings and through the camera lens she explores themes of feminism, isolation, loneliness and being self-sufficient. I saw her “A Dream in Green” (from the Honeymoon Suite, 2015) at Phillips Auction in London, (on my birthday!) in May 2017. I was stunned and I have kept my eyes on her ever since. I heard her talk at an gallery event in November last year and I just find her very intriguing, I am looking forwards to see what the future holds for her.
CAC: Are there any projects you are currently working on and able to speak about?
AK: My “In Conversation with..” series is an ongoing project that I started in April 2017. My conversations are on different topics of art with curators, artists, museum directors, art dealers, entrepreneurs and everything there in between. It is an ever growing series of vibrant and unique conversations with pioneering individuals from the art world. I sat down with HUO (Hans Ulrich Obrist) at the Serpentine Gallery in London, I travelled to Stockholm to meet with Daniel Birnbaum at the Moderna Museet, I’ve spoken to Matthew Slotover about Art fairs and Francesco Bonami about the Venice Biennale and most recently with Kate Bryan, who is the International Art Curator of the Soho House group. I don’t want to give it all away, but I do have some very interesting conversations lined up for this year so make sure to check in on my website under the ‘Art Blog’.
I provide Art Advisory and Curating services through DYNAMISK. I am currently working on a project called “The Street Vision” for a private art collector client. Who is a great art enthusiast that has been collecting art for decades. Alongside collecting art, he also has a grand passion for automobiles, beautiful vintage cars (that are art statements in their very own right!) In this unique project, I’ve been asked to curate a space entwining the two: art and automobiles. Given the freedom to commission twenty artists, I took it to the streets. Looking for street artists in Shoreditch, for young emerging talents at the major Graduating shows around London including the Royal College of Arts, Goldsmiths and Slade. As well as I connected with a couple of artists over Instagram. I also found a few artists through the traditional way, by contacting art galleries and when reaching out to a friend who runs a creative agency is East London, we ended up doing a great collaboration together with another eight artists. Just before the turn of the year I had all the art works installed and I am now in the process to produce a catalogue which will include pictures of the art works alongside interviews and work-in-progress footage, all in order to provide a more in-depth story to the art pieces they’ve specifically produced for this unique commission.
Curating is really where my heart lays and I am hoping to get more involved with curating projects this year. Last year I curated two art talks and a workshop at the Soho House and that was a lot of fun. Currently I am working on an International exhibition project in Sweden which I am co-curating together with Kulturhotellet and MoBF.
I am also planning on curating a Scandinavian group of artists, there is a yearly fair in Copenhagen in August which I am planning on attending. Being Swedish I think it would be great to be more involved with the Nordic art scene and I guess you could say this is an attempt to that.
Another current project I am very enthusiastic about is that I am co-writing a book. That will focus on curating as a practice that spans over multiple creative fields, so not only the arts. Which is something new for me and it is therefore a project I am very excited about. We are in the very early stages were we have just finished drafting the outline for all the chapters of the book and are now just starting to research and write the very first chapter. So there is still a lot of work to do but I can sense there are very exciting times ahead!
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One of CAC’s features is its calendar featuring all of the most important dates and occasions in the art world and the “must-see” events." Founder Vera Bertran (@vera_bertran) (@contemporaryartcollectors)