5 November – 19 December 2015
Works from the collections of Alain Servais, Hampus Lindwall, Robert Bielecki and Li Zhen
Exhibition maker Domenico Quaranta
In the context of CCC (Curators Collectors Collaborations)
Work from Robert’s collection is currently on view at Krinzinger Projekte in Vienna, Austria.
“The exhibition focuses on the practice of collecting the digital – a relatively young practice that started when, around the turn of the millennium, “born digital” art practices started finding their own way into the art market thanks to the dedication of a few galleries and the interest of some brave collectors.
In recent years, the market for art using digital means and responding to the issues of our digital age has grown with the advent of special interest art fairs and even auctions. However, concerns about the immaterial nature of digital information, its easy copy-ability and the possibility to effectively preserve hardware and software still make collecting digital art quite rare, despite its cultural relevance. Mankind / Machinekind is an attempt to show how it can happen, through a selection of seminal works from private collections.”
For further exhibition information visit, Galerie Krinzinger: Projekte.
CCC#4 Interview – Robert D. Bielecki
First of all, the usual question: when and how did you start collecting?
I began collecting (though I prefer the term “care-taking”) 12+ years ago. My initial interest in collecting started with photography documenting the intersection of architecture, geography and the massive transformation of the metropolis in the 20th and 21st century. Some of my first acquisitions were Edward Burtynsky’s China series and Michel Najjar’s Netropolis series.
How did you get involved in this project? And how did your friendship with Hampus Lindwall / Alain Servais / Robert Bielecki begin?
Steve Sacks, owner and director of the renowned new media bitforms Gallery made the introduction.
Can you explain the project with Hampus Lindwall / Alain Servais / Robert Bielecki in more detail?
Defer to the gallery
Have your collecting preferences changed in the last years?
My acquisition philosophy is simple, acquire what you love and you’ll never make a mistake. Although I’m not bound by a particular medium, I own and enjoy sculpture, painting, photography, ceramics, and contemporary design, I have a keen aesthetic and philosophic interest in digital art and film.
Have you always been involved in contemporary art?
My journey into contemporary art began nearly thirty years ago. Contemporary music composition and improvisation were the springboard to all my cultural interests. Music continues to be significant in my life.
What was your contribution to this project?
Several years ago I met and acquired work by (Nora) Ligorano/ (Marshall) Reese. They invented a fiber optic tapestry “50 Different Minds,” an extraordinary marriage of the ancient art of weaving and digital technology. This is the first of a series of woven pieces based on different datasets.
Under the auspices of the Robert D. Bielecki Foundation, of which Marshall is a board member, we determined their latest work I•AM•I was an excellent fit for this exhibition. It manifests net art from a different perspective, portraying and broadcasting an individual using their personal data recorded by activity trackers and responses to an online emotional survey. The artists designed their own graphic interface for inputting this information. The piece is also about how we shape and construct our persona now through interaction with mobile devices.
Why do you collect net art? Why is it interesting for you to collect net art?
The net defines the zeitgeist literally and metaphorically. It is the heartbeat of our culture today, everything flows through it and it touches everything. For me, art that incorporates technology into the concept of the work is thrilling and in certain way necessary.
You own url works that are always accessible for most of us. But how can you claim your ownership for these kinds of artworks? What are the consequences?
The responsibility and privilege of owning domain based art is to be a useful steward of a managed commons. It’s becoming more about sharing, exchange and interaction than simply ownership.
What’s the worth of something that is always accessible for anyone, at anytime and everywhere?
The Internet itself is inherently opportune for a stewardship model based on a circle of reciprocity. As a collector of this type of art I’m not just “owning” a particular artwork, I’m entering into a relationship with an artist based on a different paradigm to the collecting model, whereby the acquirer fairly compensates the artist to produce more work and together they broaden the base for the medium. This is a critical question with broad implications, not just in terms of the production of art but also in its preservation; clearly this is an area that demands further exploration.
What are the responsibilities of a collector of Internet art?
Refer to above.
Do you think the role of net art will increase within the next years?
Absolutely, 100% yes. The challenge, as always, will be separating art from artifice in a net based world where “bright shiny objects” with little redeeming aesthetic value tantalize the eye more easily than ever before. This is how collectors and curators can contribute to the discourse.
What could be the next step for net art?
Further immersion into virtual reality environments and embeddable technologies.
Is it important for you to talk to the artist, or do you fall in love with the work itself?
First, I feel a connection to the work. Getting to explore the work further with the artist is a natural corollary and is helpful for technical support.
How would you describe your collection?
Eclectic yet well defined with a concise point of view. My collection is quite diverse. Though it’s clearly focused on new media, I enjoy and collect all kinds of art. Love it or hate it, viewers rarely walk away impartial.
Do you feel your collection changes as you change? Or when you review your collection do you feel that you have altered, that what you like has changed?
Change is the only constant – whether we know it (or accept it) or not.
Where do you find the works from your collection? On the Internet, at fairs, in museum, galleries, studios?
All of the above. The antennae is always alert.
What do you think is the role of a contemporary art collector?
To thine own self be true!