What pieces of art do artists live with? That was the initial question that motivated this project.
Many artists collect art. Although not all of them do , it is usual that, with time, most of them gather some art work. Some artists collect without having the conscious intention of doing it. Others, on the contrary, are fully aware of the thickness and spectrum of their collection. Many are not even one bit convinced of having an art collection in the strict sense of the concept and define the group of art pieces they live as the result of an improvised practice. Despite the fact that the name we give to this kind of collection is not completely appropriate, we decided to name this “conjugal bond” Artists’ Collections.
In 2017 we began to explore the domestic geography of a group of artists in order to get to know the pieces that live within their houses and studios. Editorially, the concept was simple: interviewing artists encarnating their role as collectors and performing a photographic register at the moment of the visit.
For over more than a year, together with Juan Pardo Goicochea, we visited four-teen artists. Most of the interviews took place during 2017 and some few others were done during the first half of 2018.
From the beginning the idea was to work with artists from our generation. The group was built during the following months. We started interviewing some close friends and that led us to stir through a plan that adjusted while we kept on moving forwards, focusing the search on the peculiarities of each collection.
Some of the interviewed artists are friends among themselves and we started to hear the same names more than once among different collections. New layers and stories start concatenating and leave a trace of the strength that human bonds have as an engine for developing ideas.
While the evolution of the list of participants was organic, we looked for ten collections or stories that would be quite different from each other. We contacted artists that at some point had had their own projects and independent art spaces, artists that are, also, curators and write texts for other artists, artists that at the same time are teachers or cultural managers, activists, editors, artists that work together, partners of other artists, etc.
The only condition we had at the time of planning the photographic record was avoiding the white background and never taking the art pieces out of their natural environment. The result is a thorough record of the visits we did just as they occurred, where art pieces appear but also sneakers, hands, cellphones, food, pets, scissors and duct tape.
Some places we already knew, many others we did not, but in all cases it was the first time that we found ourselves in front of the collections as a whole. We never planned the questions we asked, they arose spontaneously to leave room for the unexpected in the meetings. Most of the texts preserve the freshness of that first visit to different rooms in the houses, the encounter with the art pieces and what they allowed us to see.
We spoke about the pieces but mostly, we were interested in the stories about how they made it there: The story of each artists’ path through their affections, community and their bond to the pieces in regards to their place within studios and houses, where they share their everyday space. This also revealed collections that included foranean objects at the same time together with the art pieces: religious figurines from different cultures, altar pieces, miniatures, breads, amulets, commemorative objects of all kinds that added layers of meaning and nourished every portrait.
Purchases, exchanges, gifts, pieces offered in gratitude, objects that after a given time install themselves there, more or less timid barters: what these stories have in common, without any doubt, is affection. Those groups of art pieces in their new context work as guardians and at the same time, rely on their new owners' care. They contain the presence of these people, even though they live in boxes, in wardrobes. Sometimes for that same reason they need to be put away. Collections are a window to a biography of a specific moment and because of that nature, they are always in constant movement.
This publication presents only a selection of each collection. It includes pieces of over 200 artists, creators, local and international crafters, some that still live and some that have passed away. For us, this process involved discovering many artists' names and work we did not know but that we hope to share and spread with the help of this publication.
Colecciones de artistas is a project that, throughout the years, summoned many friends and colleagues. Our great and fundamental member of the team from the very first day is Juan Pardo Goicochea. The images that portray every piece and every encounter are the result of his unique point of view and loving work.
During these five years, Colecciones de artistas had many shapes: in its beginnings it was a web page that we developed together with the artists Mariana Sissia, Mercedes Irisarri and Mayra vom Brocke, who gave the first breath to the project.
During the whole of 2021 we worked on this new version, the printed publication on paper. While we edited the interviews, some grew and were transformed, and others only added a new question that allowed a cycle to be closed. Reencountering with the material suggested new queries or questions that we were not able to fulfill initially and that remained covered up in the towers of pluriball while we unpacked, discovered, piled up and then put the artwork away again, and so we did the interviews now.
For this last period we counted on great team: Santiago Goria trusted the material from the very beginning and was the most dedicated graphic designer and generous colleague, over the final stretch Maria Eugenia Solla joined us on digital edition and Paloma Vidal Ruiz made sure that the texts were published with not one single mistake by going through the interviews over and over again. As a star guest we have the fortune of counting with Pablo Schanton’s presence and the marvelous text “Artistas coleccionando artistas, una cuestión de matrocinio y numismática”, released during the first days of February on 2022. Artists’ Collections is possible also thanks to the support of Balanz through Patronage Cultural Participation of the Ministry of Culture, Government of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires.
The closure of this cycle comes to us with a little bit of melancholy. None of this would have been possible without the artists that worked with us and were a fundamental part of this teamwork. Infinite thanks to Ana Clara, Juan, Nico, Laura, Jazmín, Irana, Vero, Manu, Charly, Delfina, Victoria, Flavia, Luis and Mariela for their work, for letting us in their homes, look around, ask and help us turn this project, that gave us so much happiness, into reality.
Daniela Varone - Valeria Pecoraro
Juan Pardo Goicochea (Argentina)
Marisa Shimamoto (Japón)
Paloma Vidal Ruiz / Alicia Di Stasio
Mayra vom Brocke / Daniela Varone