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Artissima Stories: Carlos Marsano in conversation with Neda Young

24 October 2019 Artissima Stories

Collections are like living creatures. How do you develop yours? What is the thread that connects the works you buy?

Neda Young: My art lives with me in my home with my family and feels like part of it. Especially as time goes by, these artworks are like old family members. The thread that connects my art collection is that each piece tells the story of how it came into that collection; also, they are all works by living artists—or artists who were alive when I bought the work. Knowing the artist allows me to discuss how that piece was conceived and get to know the feelings that went into it. This makes my relationship with my collection more personal, and everything has a deeper meaning when I look at it.

Carlos Marsano: Collections are like living creatures because they evolve constantly. Connecting with art is a continuous learning experience. The eye is like a muscle that gets trained and evolves every day. Being an art lover means that you are always reading, doing research, speaking with gallerists and curators and trying to stay informed about shows, art fairs and biennials. Since the first piece I bought, I feel that I have gone through important changes in the way I look at art. I’m better informed and when I buy artworks I’m thinking of my collection as a whole body of work. It’s important to keep in mind that a group of works needs a thread that will bring the different pieces together to create a dialogue, and it is not easy. Initially I was very impulsive, but with time you learn how to make choices and you improve your decision-making process.I am very invested in collecting young contemporary artists and also interested in new materials, video, and multimedia sculptures, which can be very challenging to live with. I am very interested in artists who are focused on thinking critically about their present.

What’s the role of art education today? Do you think that it is important to support an artist by investing in his or her education?

NY: The role of art education should be to provide knowledge of art history and to bring contemporary art into conversation with the past at times. Moreover, the heritage of classical art and mythology is often used in contemporary art but without real knowledge of it, so it becomes very difficult to have points of reference about where things come from and how to connect them. Yes, I think it is important to support artists education, and I very much do that myself. I am a big supporter of art residency programs.

CM: Education plays a major role in the life of artists, but it is not the only part of the equation. Artists need to develop critical thinking and put themselves in a position to become global players. Unfortunately that’s very difficult when you live in countries that have less visibility and small art scenes. That’s why residency programs become so important for an artist’s career. In Peru along with three friends of mine I have developed an initiative called Artus, a cultural platform that through open calls and a selection process lets us give the winner access to residency programs such as Delfina Foundation, Gasworks and others. It’s a way to support education and have an impact on the artist’s career.

Is collecting contagious? How did it happen to you? Can you tell us if there were any collectors in particular who got you into it?

NY: Yes, collecting is an addiction for me. I studied art history, but especially growing up in Croatia—where art is in every church and on every street corner—art has always been a part of my life. No, I didn’t know any collectors when I started.

CM: I don’t think collecting is contagious, but when you develop a taste for being an active part of the global art scene it becomes a part of your life. I focus a lot on young artists at the beginning of their careers because I like to see them grow, which means that I get to be connected with this wonderful world. I was born surrounded by art because my father was a collector and I live with art in my home.

How do you approach a visit to an art fair? Do you plan in advance and make a battle plan?

NY: At the fair I usually start with some galleries I like to visit; then I just go around and always discover something new.

CM: When I visit an art fair I like to review which galleries are going to be first on my list. I normally begin with the young section where I can discover new talents.

How do you rate a fair? What do you factor in? 

NY: If the art is good, the fair is good!

CM: There are so many fairs these days, but three of them are always special to me, the ones where I feel most connected. Artissima is one of them.

What’s most special about Artissima for you?

NY: At Artissima I get to see art that I don’t see in New York. Also, the people who organize the fair and the visits are very welcoming, and there is always good art to see.

CM: I like the way Artissima is structured, with the different sections and the curatorial work. Artissima is a very special moment for Torino, when you can find a dialogue between private and public spaces.

There’s a sweet, specific comfort to be found in some rituals of the art world. How do you like Turin? Do you have any favorite spots, and have you developed any traditions there? 

NY: It was my first visit and I loved it. Of course Flavia made sure we were all very well taken care of. The rituals of fine dining and the interesting art conversations were the moments I treasured most.

CM: Torino is a city full of history, with its amazing Egyptian Museum, Castello di Rivoli, foundations and museums, all combined with great cuisine, white truffles and delicious wines.

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