Bart Bierman with work by Gijs van Lith, Koen Delaere and Nico Vaerewijck. Photo by: Elsemieke Mittendorff
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 Bart Bierman (Attorney, age 37)
What does art mean to you?
Art is always in the back of my mind. The nice thing about collecting art is that you suddenly realize that you can also have a personal relationship with art and that you can choose: do you like it or not? Does it affect you? Do you want it or not? That's how I go through life searching and scanning.
Koen Delaere, MutantStandard, 2019, Gerhard Hofland.
Were you exposed to art while growing up?
We used to go to museums very often both at home and abroad, and my mother studied at an art academy for a very brief spell. But I had to find my way in art collecting myself. It started when I moved to New York for work in 2008. I had never been to a gallery before.
Where do you read about the latest developments in the art world?
Instagram to start with. It really is the ultimate medium to follow galleries, artists and other collectors. No chatter, just browsing pictures. Furthermore online platforms such as Patty Morgan, GalleryViewer and Hard//hoofd. I also like to buy magazines to browse, such as Artforum or Metropolis M. Finally, I would also like to make a small plea for good, old-fashioned television: Kunstuur, Mondo (now defunct), Uur van de Wolf, and beautiful 2Doc documentaries.
Gijs van Lith, Tracing Traces, no.12, 2020, MPV Gallery.
Where do you prefer to look at art?
I prefer to view art at fairs, especially Art Rotterdam. The advantage is that all art is then available, and that you can compare works, galleries and developments. A close second are galleries and studios. I also love looking at art in the museum, but as an enthusiast, not as a collector. Viewing art online appeals the least to me.
How often do you buy art each year?
I buy six to seven works a year. I started out collecting photography, so that was editioned. Now, I almost exclusively buy unique works, because in the end I find painting the most interesting.
Remy Jungerman, Pimba GWAFU, 2016, Galerie Ron Mandos.
Where do you do your buying: in a gallery, at an art fair, at an auction or online?
I really enjoy following an artist, and to linger around their work at the gallery or at a fair. Then fall in love and make the decision on the spot. I also really like buying directly from the artist, right at the source. The nice thing about an auction I think is that you can buy works by renowned artists at a reasonable price.
Is it important that you and your partner always agree on a purchase?
No - appreciating art is super individual as far as I am concerned. My girlfriend does not have to agree with a purchase. Conversely, if she buys art, I don't have to agree with her either. A purchase that is a compromise seems to me to be a guarantee of mediocrity and regret anyway.
Bryan Schutmaat, One Headlight, 2017, Galerie Wouter van Leeuwen.
Do you have a special relationship with any one gallery?
Without selling the others short, I now very much like to visit Gerhard Hofland. We practically live next door. The space is pleasant, art really comes into its own there.
If you had an unlimited budget, who would you buy a work from?
I can't pick one, but I don't have to with an unlimited budget, right? Marlene Dumas, Anish Kapoor, Gerhard Richter, Anselm Kiefer and Piet Mondrian.
Who are your favourite artists?
Koen Delaere makes monumental, compelling paintings. I get completely absorbed by them. As if you’re are falling into them.
Bryan Schutmaat makes super impressive, documentary-like photography. Unforgettable.
Remy Jungerman combines beautiful geometric-abstract art with his Surinamese roots and traditions. Tight and sensitive. Two worlds come together.
Kaspar Dejong, FOG IIV, 2020, Josilda da Conceição Gallery.