“Doesn’t have this country other problems, then collecting art?” Quite often I hear that question, when I introduce myself as an art-collector living in Romania. Yes, the country has a lot of problems, because the society is transforming from a strict conserving society into a dynamic post-modern one. And in this process of transformation, which is visible all over the world, not only in Romania, the individual is getting more and more important. This development is visible In fashion, in travelling, in food, in life-style as well in daily life and behavior of people. With this development, parallel old traditions – or may I say retro fashions? – are coming back, as collecting art.
There are an increasing number of Art-Collectors in Romania. Nobody took the effort yet to analyze exactly the market-figures, because for too long, collecting art had been considered in Romania as exotic hobby of a certain elite, who wanted to show off with their collection their power and poverty. What surprises me and makes me happy in the same way, that most Romanian Art-Collectors that I know are younger than me. This is reflected as well in their collections, its style, the artists and artworks which are represented in. The new Romanian collections are more open minded, more international, more colorful. This development is a mirror of the contemporary society in Romania. Most visitors, visiting the country are surprised about its open mind, internationality and colorful life, especially the art-scene in cities as Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca and Timisoara. The liberal artsy spirit in this cities is determined of course by the international art-universities, but as well in taking art serious again.
Since Adrian Ghenie broke through in 2006 and increased its auction results at Sotheby’s 16 fold, art is considered as well as an investment. From Ghenie, who is the most important representative of the “School of Clu” and the art-center in the old brush factory (“Fabrica de Pensule”), many Romanian businessmen learned how to make money with collecting art.
Nevertheless, Timisoara, European Cultural Capital 2021, and Cluj-Napoca had been for Centuries part of the Austrian and later Austro-Hungarian Empire, which brought as well the appreciation for Fine Arts into bourgoise families.
Nowadays, Romanians are travelling a lot, living abroad for some time and coming back, knowing how life could be. And they observe that people in Western Countries decorate their homes and office with original art. This is how usually, art-collections are starting. People find out that the esthetic of contemporary art around, gives another mood, another mind and makes us feel better, they continue searching for that moments of pleasure. “When I look at Contemporary Art, a painting, a sculpture, a video-installation and I remain looking at it, I feel better” the new, individualistic collectors are reporting. And they learned to look for artists from other countries and continents.
Romanian collectors of international contemporary art are travelling to important fairs, discovering new artists, are curious about new works of their favourite artist, build connections to galleries and curators and ask for professional advice from art-experts. The recent collector-generation are by profession lawyers, business-people from the IT-Sector, from the Investment sector, real-estate developers and industrialists. But we should not forget the huge amount of expats, coming from other countries and staying in Romania for business, often employed by multi-national companies with respectable income.
ART 9TEEN – Viennas Private Art Club & Events are showing, now virtually on their website www.art9teen.eu works by different Romanian collectors. Due to the current crisis, the exhibition is now just virtually, but might follow real soon. “We want to show that Romania has serious collectors of international Contemporary Art”, the organizers explain. Nevertheless, Vienna’s art-world is curious, what is going on there in the almost forgotten area of South-Eastern-Europe. Why cities as Timisoara, Cluj-Napoca and Bucharest are the cultural hotspots between Vienna and Istanbul now? And why galleries like Mihai Nicodim are in Bucharest and in Los Angeles, Plan B in Cluj and Berlin, Kunsthaus 7B near Sibiu and in Vienna? Inspired from the questions of the art-world outside Romanias, the team of ART9TEEN in Vienna Döbling is preparing its virtual club-events for collectors and the next exhibition with works from the portfolio of more Romanian collectors.
“Global Contemporary – Art from Romanian Private Collections”
“Peony”, by Birgit Reiner, born in Sibiu, living in Bonn60 x 30 cm, oil on canvas, march 2020
The original article bv Thomas Emmerling was published on April 5th, 2020 on https://thomasemmerling.blogspot.com