A portrait shot showing 3 Media Art collectors in black and white A portrait shot showing 3 Media Art collectors in black and white A portrait shot showing 3 Media Art collectors in black and white A portrait shot showing 3 Media Art collectors in black and white

Collecting and Curating Media Art

For the second virtual conversation on moving image art, Muse, the Rolls-Royce Art Programme and their partner Fondation Beyeler looked at the fascinating world of art collecting in relation to moving image art.

“We live in a world surrounded by the moving image,” she observes. “What I try to do with the collection is to create an image of the social and cultural conditions of my generation.”

Julia Stoschek
Collector
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How does one collect media art? Three leading art world figures closely connected to the field of moving image came together to discuss their experiences, motivations and challenges of engaging with this ephemeral medium. Swedish curator Daniel Birnbaum, was joined by video art collectors Julia Stoschek and Han Nefkens to discuss their mission to share moving-image works with the world.

For German collector Stoschek, whose collection includes over 860 time-based works which span video, film, moving-image installation, and virtual reality, collecting media art is a way of creating a portrait of contemporaneity. “We live in a world surrounded by the moving image,” she observes. “What I try to do with the collection is to create an image of the social and cultural conditions of my generation.”

Similarly, Nefkens views this constantly evolving field as having “a finger on the pulse of the times”. The Dutch collector, who describes video art as his “first love”, moved from collecting existing video works to commissioning new projects in a bid to support emerging talent in the field. Established in 2009, the Han Nefkens Foundation uses its extensive international network to seek out undiscovered artists, especially those working in areas which lack a strong art infrastructure.

"As museums shuttered their doors during the pandemic, Stoschek led the way in bringing art to the home by making her entire collection available for free online in May."

Access is a key goal for all three figures, now more than ever. As museums shuttered their doors during the pandemic, Stoschek led the way in bringing art to the home by making her entire collection available for free online in May. “Art has to be accessible,” she asserts. For her, this mission to share chimes with a defining principle of early moving-image works: “It was a very democratic art form at the beginning, produced to be accessible by everyone.”

What is clear is that such works provide new spaces for public engagement in the face of the current restrictions imposed on physical gallery experiences. At the time of the discussion Birnbaum, as director of Acute Art, a company which provides artists with access to cutting-edge technologies, was poised to launch Unreal City, a city-wide AR art tour of London featuring works by contemporary luminaries such as Cao Fei and Olafur Eliasson. It’s innovative projects such as these, all three agree, that reassert the importance of media works in both the present and future art landscape.

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