Angelo Tijssens with work by Felix De Clercq. Photo: Nick Mattan
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 Angelo Tijssens (Theatre director, actor and screenwriter, age 35)
What does art mean to you?
It is an exercise in interpretation, in looking at the world through the eyes of another person, a constantly changing exercise in empathy, that is.
Bendt Eyckermans, De Erfenis, 2020, Gallery Sofie Van de Velde.
Were you exposed to art while growing up?
It was certainly not self-evident in my youth, we did not go to museums or galleries, although I do have active memories of a book about Rembrandt my grandparents had, and of the 'Artis Historia' books, which we all saved the coupons for. Carbohydrates for art!
Dries Segers, Untitled, 2020, DMW Gallery.
Where do you read about the latest developments in the art world?
Such a boomer question. I follow a lot of young artists on Instagram, and they often share work from their peers too - that way you get a network that spreads all over the world, and is curated as some kind of living organism.
Les Monseigneurs, L'univers ne s'arrète pas, 2021, BruthausGallery.
Where do you prefer to look at art?
At ease, that's about the only precondition. I don't like standing in line, so wherever I can set my own pace. Sometimes that is staring at something for a very long time, sometimes it is rushing through a museum at high speed, because I am actually already saturated.
How often do you buy art each year?
That is not fixed. Last year we bought four new works within a few weeks, sometimes nothing at all for a long time. There is no system, except love for a particular work or artist. We buy editioned prints, unique works, whatever. If it’s interesting, it’s interesting.
Thomas Verstraeten, The parade of men, women and those who look from a long way off like flies, 2018, FRED&FERRY.
Where do you do your buying: in a gallery, at an art fair, at an auction or online?
The few times we were at an art fair, we mainly felt the "market", while a gallery more often has a personal approach, and it is also quieter there. But we already bought a lot of work online too.
Daems van Remoortere, Geometric Eclipse, 2018, Callewaert Vanlangendonck Gallery.
Is it important that you and your partner always agree on a purchase?
Usually that is something that goes smoothly and automatically, although Nick also has an entire collection of graphic works from colleagues - he is a graphic designer himself, and trades a lot of work with people he works with, while sometimes I also buy things that he really thinks ugly.
Do you have a special relationship with any one gallery?
DMW in Borgerhout has a nice range of Belgian contemporaries, including Dries Segers, Joris Vanpoucke and Caroline Van den Eynden), just like Sofie Van de Velde (who represents Bendt Eyckermans, Felix De Clercq) and the delicious Dauwens Beernaert in Brussels. They show, among others, Toon Boeckmans and Alex Verhaest.
Felix De Clercq, A new hometown, 2020, Gallery Sofie Van de Velde.
If you had an unlimited budget, who would you buy a work from?
Everything by Sophie Calle. Or "Protect Me From What I Want" by Jenny Holzer. Or photos by Peter Hujar. Or Wolfgang Tillmans. Or "Mandi VIII" by Kris Martin.
Who are your favourite artists?
We have been following Bendt Eyckermans' work for years. He is a wonderful artist who, time and time again, and ever more sharply, shows a world that attracts and frightens me.
Dries Segers, because his gaze - whether he looks at trees, fungi or reflections in puddles on the street - knows how to move me time and again.
Les Monseigneurs (nom de plume of Thomas Renwart) makes monumental tapestries, colourful, very contemporary but elaborating on the rich Flemish tradition.
Caroline Van den Eynden, Jeu de Mouchoir, 2020, DMW Gallery.