Axel Daeseleire, achter hem werk van Nils Verkaeren, in zijn handen: Bram Kinsbergen en links twee kleine werkjes van Jean Rustin. Foto door: Oscar van Gelderen.
What do art lovers like? Where do they buy their art and, most importantly, what do they buy?
Every Monday an enthusiast tells about his love for art in this section. This week it’s author and co-host of the ‘Eenmaal, andermaal’ television programme Axel Daeseleire (53)
What does art mean to you?
At its best art is a combination of truth, authenticity and beauty. Art can make me cry, make me happy, put me in different emotional states and above all: it makes me connect with the world, with others – it is philosophizing and praying at the same time.
Koen van den Broek, Warehouse, 2020, Galerie Ron Mandos.
Were you exposed to art while growing up?
I am very much indebted to my parents. When my father made time, life was sublimated in music, museums and galleries. I also paint myself, I just had an exhibition, at the Verbeeck - Van Dyck gallery. I am very involved with religion. If something is made out of devotion, I think it's good. After all, what a person worships is more important to him than himself.
Where do you read about the latest developments in the art world?
A lot through conversations, by meeting people. I look for auctions online, I also look for many newsletters, and I have a large library, where I – frankly – watch more than I read.
Where do you prefer to look at art?
Auctions. I learned a lot at auctions. The offer is very diverse, it's exciting, it makes me horny. An auction house is a kind of whorehouse, a grand legal whorehouse. Not with living whores, of course, but with beauty.
Manu Engelen, IBM, 2020, Callewaert Vanlangendonck Gallery.
How often do you buy art each year?
Only unique works, rarely editions. I want originals. I buy every two to three weeks, that also includes small things, such as Buddhas. A good painting: every two months.
Where do you do your buying: in a gallery, at an art fair, at an auction or online?
I buy a lot at auctions, I think about 80%. Sometimes in a gallery, sometimes also online. Today I bought a work by Jan Sluyters from a photo.
Is it important that you and your partner always agree on a purchase?
I am sovereign in that too. I don't ask permission, that's my freedom. I do listen, but I don't obey.
Tom Liekens, One Million Years BC, 2018, Galerie Bart.
Do you have a special relationship with any one gallery?
Keteleer, because of Jon Pilkington and Floris van Look. Callewaert-Vanlangendonck Gallery, De Zwarte Panter, but also Ronny Van de Velde, the location on the coast and in the Nosestraat in Antwerp. And because he serves good champagne: Galerie Lowet de Wotrenge in Antwerp. Here’s a tip: Galerijke Marijke shows one work by a new talent each month.
If you had an unlimited budget whose work would you buy?
Max Ernst. I once saw a small work of his at the BRAFA. I enquired about the price: 750,000 euros. Of course I didn’t have that kind of money, but if I did, I would have bought it. An incredible artist, because he reinvents his style with every work.
Who are your favourite artists?
Koen Van den Broek can make you look at space and at cities in a new way. He can take the banal to the next level. The superflu of existence.
For me Tom Liekens is the other side of the fairy tale. His work is like a fairy tale, but also raw. Plus he invariably brings nature into your home
Manu Engelen makes lively abstract work. Engelen is someone who can create abstract lyrical work, not through the form but through the atmosphere.
Luc Tuymans, The Stage, 2020, Zeno X Gallery.