Stefanie Francis with work by Werner Mannaers and on the right Dries Segers.
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 Stefanie Francis (Dutch as a second language teacher in Brussels and Dutch and cultural sciences in Antwerp, age 48)
What does art mean to you?
For me art is of vital importance - and this has become even clearer to me in the past year - and I am talking about all forms of art: visual art as well as literature, music, etc. As far as I am concerned, art should move me, even more so, bring ecstasy (crying and laughing - humour is also very important), make me think, question things. In short, it should amaze me.
Mario De Brabandere, Zonder titel (Untitled), 2019, Kristof De Clercq gallery.
Were you exposed to art while growing up?
I think that awareness did not come about until I was fifteen or sixteen. I then spent a summer in London with my father - who was himself a well-known artist - where he took me to several museums. I was blown away by William Turner. That light...
Where do you read about the latest developments in the art world?
Both from art magazines and newspapers, but also via social media, where you have the opportunity to follow many galleries and museums - but also artists themselves.
Werner Mannaers, Fucking Flowers (21), 2020, DMW Gallery.
Where do you prefer to look at art?
I enjoy going to museums and I am very happy that they have stayed open in recent months, but I also like to visit a gallery and of course there is a lot to do online lately.
How often do you buy art each year?
I can't put a number on that. Two works per year on average? I am quite impulsive at times so it varies, but of course it also depends on the price tag.
Joris Ghekiere, Untitled, 2014, Kristof De Clercq gallery.
Where do you do your buying: in a gallery, at an art fair, at an auction or online?
I have already bought works in galleries - the Kunst Aan Zet scheme (which allows you to borrow interest-free up to 7,000 euros) is a fantastic facility in this regard - but I have also bought works of art online, or at an auction, and I really like that; I can feel the tension that comes with it, especially if you win of course!
Is it important that you and your partner always agree on a purchase?
No, I decide that myself. Sometimes he likes it and sometimes he doesn't.
Do you have a special relationship with any one gallery?
DMW Gallery - by the way also one of the driving forces behind the Ballroom Project, which takes place May 12-16 in Antwerp. I bought a work by Dries Segers from them. I also find LLS Paleis an inspiring and authentic place that I like to pop into. Kristof De Clercq Gallery in Ghent, because of the artists he chooses to show. I would also like to mention Galerie Rivoli in Brussels.
Caroline Van den Eynden, Jeu de Mouchoir, 2020, DMW Gallery.
If you had an unlimited budget, who would you buy a work from?
Francis Alÿs is the number one, and if I may dream: Mark Rothko, Sean Scully, Giuseppe Penone, Richard Tuttle, Donald Judd, Rose Wylie, Agnes Martin, Leon Spilliaert, René Heyvaert, Lois Weinberger, Mario Giacomelli ...
Who are your favourite artists?
Mario De Brabandere's work is rather minimalist and abstract, but I immediately thought it was very good.
Werner Mannaers is also such an incredibly talented person: he makes beautiful paintings (and drawings) - he is without a doubt a virtuoso.
Caroline Van den Eynden makes fictional architectural installations, which may seem real, and which appeal to the imagination because they evoke desires and memories.
Peter Morrens, Dead End, 2019, Kristof De Clercq Gallery.