Friday, 7 January 2011

COLLECTING ART




I was madly in love with Stalin's War Room by Dexter Dalwood, I lost it in my divorce, but loved it the moment I saw it. On a stark black background  a red telephone sits on an empty table.  Simple yet I used to watch it for hours.
I personally like to collect art which is meaningful to my life.  I love my art friends and on the whole I like to know the artists that I buy from.  I feel they leave a part of themselves in my house, so I want to like them too.  
I really only started to like contemporary art when I did a book for Franca Sozzani, Editor in chief of Italian Vogue called British Artists at Work, published by Assouline, it gave me an insight to a world which I would not have seen otherwise.  I used to enter an artists studio and fall in love or not immediately.  
Tracey Emin's studio was immaculate, colour coordinated and full of fascinating objects.  I could spend hours in her studio or even her house.  Tracey has soul, and luckily I have several of her drawings
of birds and nudes.
In the Summer I bought a large white elephant, with an orchid on its back, of Marc Quinn's, I did not mean to, but if you have a crush like that, go for it.  The elephants were dotted round London and were sold to help save the elephant from extinction, by buying up land so that they can naturally migrate, headed by Mark Shand it was just the sort of wonderful opportunity I like.  Auctions for charity often have unusual pieces that the artist would not normally do.  So I was lucky enough to get this beautiful elephant which takes up the whole of my drawing room in Cheyne Walk.
Every piece I buy I feel attachment for, it is a coup de foudre.
In Los Angeles I have a skull chair ATELIER VAN LIESHOUT Sensory Deprivation Skull’, 2007, which I notice children love and sit in for hours.  It has doors into a whole new world, they can play peek-a-boo and listen to conversations that they are not meant to.  I bought it at Phillips de Pury.
 I go all over the place and often run in and run out of a galleries.  They are stark places and you feel watched. Another skull I loved was by The Chapman Brothers, whose work I first admired at Sensation.  My sons at the time used to ask to go to see the show, to see the Shark of Damien Hirst's,   I encouraged them.  I then realised that they used to skip under the guard's eyes and run as fast as they could to see the Chapman Brother's sculptures. The skulls are twins and against a shocking pink background grab your attention when you enter the room.
I had the good fortune to buy a magpie from Polly Morgan, a beautiful young artist, it reminded me of when I was a child.  My Mother was obsessed by counting magpies, so I immediately bought it.  I always want to find a second as it sits on a telephone all on its own, and I would like two for joy.

My brain works like that.  Passion and then reaction.  The same as in life. It can be the only way to start a collection.  That is how I do it.  Now after ten years  I must have at least thirty pieces of art dotted around, all with real links to my life..  Duggie Fields, Tim Noble Sue Webster, Matt Collishaw, Mark Brazier Jones, Orial Harwood, Vincenzo Demaar, Mazza, so many different spirits flying through the house.   I love that.

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