17 october 2019, Oscar van Gelderen & Manuela Klerkx
Hans Kemna. Photo by: Oscar van Gelderen.
In this section we let a selection of art lovers – from occasional buyers to art professionals – talk about their perception of art and preferences: where do they want to see art? Where do they purchase art, and above all: from which artists do they buy? Below, an interview with Hans Kemna (art collector)
What does art mean to you?
Everything actually, and it has been for all my life. Theatre, film, visual arts, photography, that's what I live for. Casting is also art: it is an art to find the right actor or actress for a particular role.
Did you get an appreciation of art from your parents or did you have to find your own way?
My parents took me to the theatre, and later, in the 1950s, I frequented the Café Pardoel in Rotterdam. There I met artists such as Woody van Amen and Daan van Golden.
Blue table, 2016, Elspeth Diederix.
Where do you get your information about the ups and downs in the art world: newspaper, trade magazines, television, online?
Everything, I am very attentive to social media and keep an eye on everything. I have, of course, built up a reputation as a collector, so people know where to find you. I am very eager, eager to learn, I want to know everything.
Where do you prefer to look at art? In a gallery, museum, exhibition or online?
All of the above and all around the world. I don't find that online interesting. You must stand in front of an artwork in a museum, but I also like fairs.
How many times a year do you buy art? Do you buy editioned work or do you prefer unique pieces?
Five to ten times a year in my heyday. Especially when it was about Wolfgang Tillmans, my favourite artist, I made sure to go to the preview to be the first to buy.
#351-10, 2013, Awoiska van der Molen.
And where do you buy: in the gallery, at an art fair, at an auction or online?
I rarely buy work online. However, I once bid on a work by Tillmans at a charity auction, but I was outbid in the end. On the other hand one shouldn’t dramatically exceed their financial means.
Is it important that you and your partner always agree on a purchase?
I always consulted Adrian about the price, but he left it up to me to decide. I mostly attended events and fairs alone anyway, leaving him at the restaurant to smoke a cigarette, as I went off to the fair. If I saw something beautiful, I showed it to him before deciding on it. Sharing is very important.
Is there a gallery with which you have a special relationship?
I have known the Rotterdam-based gallerist Cokkie Snoei all my life. Wouter van Leeuwen shows very good photography, Annet Gelink has a very good taste and put Ed van der Elsken on the map.
Loved by you, delivered by us, 2018,Sander Breure & Witte van Hulzen.
If you had an unlimited budget, from whom would you purchase a work?
If I had room, I’d purchase an immense bronze by Richard Serra. I’d also pick a work by Andreas Gursky. I own an editioned print of his, of which the life-sized original is on display at Tate Modern. I would really like to own that. Of course, I would like to have a painting by Daan van Golden adorning one of my walls.
Who are your favourite artists?
Sander Breure & Witte van Hulzen are working on a mix of film and photography and are making art with it. It is new, it appeals to the youth, very contemporary.
Lara Verheijden, because she mainly photographs people. Due to my casting work I am also working with people, so her taste is my taste. She sticks her neck out, as with the Amsterdam Nude Calendar. In the prudish times such as these, that is a blessing.
Paulien Oltheten takes photos of simple actions, how someone looks at a telephone, holds an umbrella. I’ve been thinking of her as a very fine photographer for a very long time now.