Elke Patteet with work by Natalia Drobot.
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 relationship with art in this column. This week an interview with interior designer Elke Patteet (age 52)
What does art mean to you?
It’s something necessary, it sharpens your vision, it lets you dream away, while time ticks on unconditionally. It is also a form of self-reflection: the works are very diverse, but at home they are part of our nest.
Kristel Van Ballaer, Ampule black and white I & II, 2020, De Wael 15.
Were you exposed to art while growing up?
I largely had to find my own way, although at home there was an eye for beauty and design, and especially classical music.
Where do you read about the latest developments in the art world?
Actually, I don't have the time to follow it consistently through some channel. The information comes my way through various routes.
Where do you prefer to look at art?
Certainly not online: a work of art is first and foremost a physical experience for me. A museum visit gives me the most peace of mind, but when visiting a gallery I notice the hunger to discover new things all the time. The hunting instinct; maybe I'm a bit masculine...
Denitsa Todorova, Sea Foam on My Marble Skin, 2020, DMW Gallery.
How often do you buy art each year?
These are periods, it varies and especially now that we are working on a major renovation project of a historic building, it has been put on the back burner for a while. Most of the works we own are unique.
Where do you do your buying: in a gallery, at an art fair, at an auction or online?
Usually in a gallery, although my first experience was not so nice. I had saved up for a work, but when I took my piggy bank to the gallery, the gallery owner did not notice me: the then Minister of Culture was obviously more important than a young, new client. I went back home disappointed and never returned.
Is it important that you and your partner always agree on a purchase?
Since we both have a completely different pace when it comes to looking at art, we walk around separately in the gallery, museum or at an art fair. When we have seen the exhibition, it usually only takes a glance between us to decide whether and which work we would like to buy. We purchase purely on gut feeling.
Wesley Meuris, Probe, 2020, Annie Gentils Gallery.
Do you have a special relationship with any one gallery?
No, not really, we visit various galleries. I personally organize an annual exhibition in my interior design store Meubart, because I find it important to accentuate what art can do with you and your living space.
If you had an unlimited budget, whose work would you buy?
I am still dreaming of a work by Ann Veronica Janssens. Years ago - when I got to know her work - we saw a table, a box, light and shadow from her. "I'm buying this," I said to my friend, without knowing a price. Unfortunately, the work was sold, but in my mind it belongs to our collection.
Who are your favourite artists?
I am struck by Kristel Van Ballaer’s pure boundlessness, continuity, the play between white and black (or is it shadow?), and the associated pure finish.
The intriguing thing about Denitsa Todorova's work is her drawing language: the omission, the erasing and disappearance are very fascinating to me, because this also happens continuously in the world around us.
I can best describe Wesley Meuris' installations as an overflowing void; you think you are alone while at the same time there is so much around you.
Katleen Vinck, Component 0.1, 2019, gastkunstenaar bij Galerie Fontana.
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