Bent Van Looy voor werken van Manor Grünewald, Dennis Ceylan en Will Sweeney.
What do art lovers like? Where do they buy their art and, most importantly, what do they buy? Every Monday an art enthusiast tells about his love for art in this section. This week it’s musician, author and painter Bent Van Looy (age 45).
What does art mean to you?
Art has always been self-evident to me. A daily reality that can lift me out of that same daily reality, sometimes. Seeing, reading or hearing works of art makes the world vibrate for a moment, it all seems to make sense for a moment. Making music or paintings gives me the feeling that I – for a moment – have a right to exist in that world.
David Claerbout, Confetti Drawing (Problem = Boy + Parents), 2018, Annet Gelink Gallery.
Were you exposed to art while growing up?
We were regularly taken to museums and sculpture parks, I remember an obsession with Pompon's polar bear and the bellies of the pregnant women of Rik Wouters in Middelheim, the imposing Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp, Rubens! Ensor! The candy machine on the ground floor! Chalks and paper were always available. There was no compulsion, rather a natural invitation to get started.
Where do you read about the latest developments in the art world?
I am the host of Radio 1’s Culture Club on Fridays. For that I scour all imaginable media for interesting things. For the visual arts Instagram is a good medium, although you do risk getting stuck in your own bubble.
Where do you prefer to look at art?
I like visiting galleries. The mixture of the new, the exciting and the diversity in offer and approach make the gallery visit exciting. In a museum context, on the other hand, you have a calmer atmosphere in which you can view the works. As if by hanging there they have become less merchandise and more eternity.
Michael Borremans, The Driver, 2020, Zeno X Gallery.
How often do you buy art each year?
Now and then everything falls into place: a crush on a work, a meeting with an inspiring artist, a little money in my bank account. I would say about twice a year.
Where do you do your buying: in a gallery, at an art fair, at an auction or online?
Usually in the gallery, sometimes online (that was quite a big thing during the lockdown, artists who supported each other by, for example, buying work on paper from each other). I always like to exchange work with another artist. That makes it even more personal.
Is it important that you and your partner always agree on a purchase?
I'm afraid I'm too impulsive to deliberate for a long time. Buying art is a bit like love, sometimes you just have to take a chance.
Ed van der Elsken, Punks, Amsterdam, 1979, Annet Gelink Gallery.
Do you have a special relationship with any one gallery?
I am affiliated with Super Dakota, a very internationally oriented gallery in Brussels. I like to drop by when I'm in town, there's always something stimulating. In my own city, since moving back to Antwerp, I have a very good relationship with Sofie Van De Velde and Jason from PLUS-ONE and many of the artists they show – like a real family.
If you had an unlimited budget, whose work would you buy?
From the man who – without any support from his friends nor the zeitgeist – shook off the straitjacket of Abstract Expressionism and reinvented himself: Philip Guston. His completely recognizable work is still electrically charged today.
Who are your favourite artists?
A couple of big names that I really like are the hushed grandeur of David Claerbout's world, the outward-looking swagger in the photos of hero Ed van der Elsken and the well-defined, somewhat stale boy's universe of Felix De Clercq.
Felix De Clercq, A simple twist of fate, 2020, Gallery Sofie Van de Velde.