04 September – 02 November 2014
For the 3rd collection of the exhibition Okolo Offline Two – Collecting at Kunstgewerbemuseum Dresden we invited people to comment on the notion of collecting. The exhibition runs until 2nd November 2014.
“When my mother-in-law passed away, she left me her stamp collection. I shouted with pleasure! My partner stashed it away in the bank vault. As a silent act of revenge, I started collecting empty sugar packets and stuck them in a professional stamp-collecting album. Collecting them was an unexpected pleasure, since you can pick them up for free in any coffee shop. In the end, this stamp album full of sugar packets became a gift for the library. The collecting mania remained. Today, the library is packed with sugar wrappers, and I am a member of the Club des Glycophiles in Paris.”
Moniek E. Bucquoye
Born in the 1950s in Bruges, the Venice of the North, Belgium; is a citizen of the world. She works mainly as a writer and curator in the field of design and architecture. Criticism and happiness are her favoured wastes of time. She collects chip forks, orange wrappers, sugar packets and more.
“In collecting it’s not the things that are the most important, it’s the act of gathering that matters the most. Being a collector is a state of mind (or even a mental condition). No matter what one collects – rare or everyday objects – it’s the inner logic of assembling them that makes them a collection. This inner logic shapes a loose set of items into a meaningful order, it makes invisible, yet powerful links between objects. Making collections is based on the obsession for finding order in a chaotic world, but in the end it is reinventing the world in one’s own way and with one’s own order.”
*1980, Warsaw, Poland; sociologist, contributes to the ongoing discussion of the meaning of design, teaches and initiates, co-founded INvisible Design, wants to make the world a better place.
Why not collect?
“We do not have a permanent collection of our own and are not aiming to have one. By leaving the role of collecting to the museums we are able to create space to reflect on and discuss current societal developments and speculate on possible scenarios for the future: will we only collect the materialised object? When thinking about changing concepts of authorship, ownership and intellectual property, the museum as site for the model collection should be questioned, as should the limits of what is collectable.”
* 1967, Genk, Belgium; studied product design at the Media and Design Academy in Genk, is founder and artistic director of Z33 – house for contemporary art in Hasselt (BE), and a curator and critic of design, architecture and contemporary art.
“As physical objects these rocks are made neither by man nor machine, but by the unimaginable forces of nature over an extensive course of time. Our chance encounter imbues them with meaning, making them worth collecting.”
*1981, Ter Apel, Netherlands; co-founded Study O Portable and Workshop for Potential Design, is an associate lecturer at London College of Fashion, collects stones.
Collecting in the future
“Collecting is an existential act. It doesn’t matter whether we collect beermats or travel memories. It is how, over time, we remain connected with the constant consolidation and development of the past, and for a brief period forget the linear structure of time which leads us through our everyday lives. In 40 years time we will collect with greater discipline, and less as an intuitive, reflex action. Digital timelines and the accumulation of social media “likes” tell no stories, and that will make us nervous. For the narrative, rather than the additive, to regain its position as the central focus, an entire industry will stimulate us to collect.”
*1982, Erlangen, Germany; studied philosophy and physics, works for the think-tank W.I.R.E. in Zurich, and writes about arts and crafts. He loves Iceland and sometimes the future.
Way of thinking
“For me, collecting means surrounding myself with things, with books and images which are the expression or result of a particular way of thinking.”
*1949; studied architecture at the RWTH Aachen, is a designer, exhibition organiser and commentator, professor of product design at the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design, and co-founder of the kkaarrlls university platform for the work of young designers
Excerpt from the collection of archaic household tools
“Adding a new piece to a collection is like a step towards an important goal in life.”
*1977 Aarau, Switzerland; studied geography and chemistry, works as a teacher in Basel, lives in Gelterkinden, creates speculative maps, collects dictionaries, countries and mountains, and shares these online on www.reliefs.ch.
It all began with a visit to my greengrocer around the corner. He had just put out fresh stocks and was busy unpacking each individual orange from small paper wrappers. I picked up one from the heap of crumpled papers and smoothed it out. These wrappers are around 20 cm x 20 cm in size, made of very thin, semi-transparent paper, printed with special graphic designs. I crumpled it up again and slipped it into my pocket. Ever since then I have been driven by the sheer joy of unwrapping them, and a love for their fascinating, nostalgic and fairytale graphics and lettering, and with their silver, gold and neon print from all over the world.
*1980, Offenbach am Main, Germany, lives in Frankfurt; studied product design at the HfG Offenbach, is a designer, collects orange wrappers.
“I have been studying the basic objects that surround us in our daily lives. Comparing and analysing different aspects of their histories, their forms of representation, the notion of place, and the way meaning is structured from them to us, the users. How do these objects become markers of routine through material consumption? The accumulation of these objects is made visible through my attempt to find what represents my own notion of place. The outcome of such a process is a meaningful archive in which the physical space and thinking space remain the same.”
*1977, USA; holds a degree in sculpture and printmaking from the Maine College of Art. His publications have been purchased by the MoMA / Franklin Furnace Artist Book Collection. Promotes further inquiry and critical thinking about our designed surroundings at the Jan van Eyck Academie, collects straws.
“On what are we to live if we do not betimes collect?”
Heinrich von Kleist
*1777-1811, Germany; poet, dramatist, novelist and short-story writer. Reading the philosophy of Immanuel Kant destroyed his faith in the value of knowledge.
“My grandfather, who served in the Imperial German Navy in Turkey during the First World War, first sparked my interest in the sea and shipping. As a 12 year old, I was given a present of five models by my parents, and these became the basis of my collection. Since the 1980s I have been meeting other model ship collectors to exchange ideas. My collection has developed over almost 60 years to around 1,500 metal models, to which unique paper models have been added more recently. These small models enable me to preserve a variety of representations of historical and contemporary maritime reality in my vitrines.”
*1943, Ziegenhain, lives in Hagen; was, among other things, a teacher of German, history and religion, is the father of four children and an avid collector of 1:1250 scale model ships.
It seems the absurdity of there ‘never being enough’ is irrevocable.
“As a child, I collected beer bottles and postage stamps; later, as a student, it was books that I collected. Nowadays, as a visual artist, I voraciously buy up private collections, including caps, porcelain cats, pencil sharpeners, spectacles, and milk bottle tops! I spend hours on the Dutch digital marketplace ‘Marktplaats’, and drive all over the Netherlands buying up collections that are often being sold as a last resort, for example in the event of financial difficulties, death, divorce or lack of space. I then neatly arrange them to create cabinets of curiosities for my exhibitions.”
Pet van de Luijtgaarden
*1975; is a visual artist and collector of collections, who is fascinated by the absurdity of abundance when it comes to “stuff”. “Shops are getting larger and fuller, but what do we need it all for?”
“For me, collecting and publishing footballer quotes means finding a smile, then giving it away.”
*1966, Germany; web author, has been collecting footballer quotes since 1999, because football and jokes are part of everyday society, but humour is often simply lacking.
“20 years ago I started to collect lead figures for fortune-telling. Different aspects of this New Year’s Eve custom fascinate me. It’s alchemy and traditional occultism in the form of a semi-industrial, commercial product for home use. Mostly the symbols are blister-packed in a six-pack with a crappy tin spoon – combined with rather ugly graphic design. It’s a variation of the same elements, but each set is different. l like the casting tins and also the failed casts of these tiny objects. From an artistic point of view, they are sculptures or reliefs which are to be transformed into abstract objects and interpreted supernaturally.”
*1971, born and lives in Leipzig, Germany; studied applied art in Schneeberg, is a product designer and photographer, collects fortune-telling figurines.
“A picture always leads to another picture.”
* 1981, Mainz, Germany; is an internet communication designer and initiator, and admin of nearly 100 Facebook groups, is fascinated by images, collects information, and shares it with others.
To make past, present and future collectable
“Collecting is a method I use within my making. I collect the unwanted, the damaged and the unused. I buy what many people no longer value or consider as being collectable. They become the starting point, eventually released and transformed from their past and finally start a new journey. I create highly collectable objects from collecting the rejected and disregarded.”
*1967, London, UK; studied silversmithing at the Royal College of Art London, is a maker and visiting senior lecturer at Konstfack University College Of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm, loves everything to do with food.
Stamps and coins
“Both of my grandfathers owned collections of stamps and coins. I took over. I just love the perfection of the execution and the attention to detail. They are designed both to perform (communicate) and to feel beautiful. Old banknotes are works of art, and so are some commemorative coins. The world of stamp engraving is the preserve of highly skilled craftsmen.”
*1979, Slovakia, lives in Rotterdam, the Netherlands; studied engineering, painting and conceptual design, is a designer and a perfectionist in all aspects of life.
“Collecting is essential for us to gain a sense of where we come from and where we are going. Collecting means taking on responsibility.”
*1969, Hoyerswerda, Germany, lives in London; curator of contemporary furniture at the Victoria and Albert Museum; interested in immaterials and the medium of exhibitions.
“As a child of the GDR, I have always had a particular view of packaging. Due to the lack of diversity, I used to examine every product closely and enjoy its details. I have always liked shopping in small, long-established, specialist shops, some apparently from a different era, whose fittings, products and staff radiate the charm of the past, and where you get your purchases in paper bags designed and printed decades earlier. The illustrations and typeface printed on these bags, and their format, paper, and much more, are so exciting that I just have to keep them.”
*1979, Dresden, lives in Dresden; since the millennium has travelled throughout Germany as a press and PR photographer for many newspapers, magazines, publishers, agencies, companies and institutions.
Why did you decide to collect historical bicycles?
“I didn’t. The bicycles decided it for me. I spend my life in the saddle or in the workshop, and it happened that I started to collect. I have been refurbishing and restoring bikes all my life, and I like to bring them back to life, on the road or in the collections of museums. You only own a collection up to a certain amount and then the collection owns you. Some collectors become slaves to their property.”
*1961, Prague; is a former professional cyclist and owner of a cycling brand. Collecting means his life, it is connected with his work, his friends, his holidays, his family.
Robert Sterba about collecting
“It is incredible how much the human race has already collected – and then scattered again. Collections are accumulated in museums as if they had always been there. Despite a widely held but foolish misconception, artefacts, natural objects and documentary evidence do not just gather dust there, but, with human assistance, continually enter into new relationships with each other. Thus, these objects, paintings, drawings and photographs do not tell only one story, but give rise to many, sometimes long-winded, stories, brief and pithy aphorisms, and occasionally drama and comedy. But for this to happen, we have to make them speak, for the dead tell no tales, and what has been collected can only be reawakened through constant re-examination. Those who are not asked do not tell. Collections are answers for which we must find the questions.”
*1961, Jena, lives mainly in Dresden; Director of the Kupferstich-Kabinett and the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister of the SKD, collects experiences of every hue and paradoxically, owns many more books than works of art.
Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Foto: Elke Estel, Hans-Peter Klut
Ferdinand Apshoven (II)
Antwerpen 1630 – 1694 Antwerpen
In der Werkstatt des Malers
Leinwand, 50,5 x 81,5 cm
Community of collections
“The nice thing about my job is that I get to assemble collections on an almost monthly basis. Each collection of objects (exhibition) becomes a component in an ever-expanding material research archive. I have created a community of collections. Bringing together objects which share a common material, or are motivated by a similar concern, or are produced in the same way is always and forever brilliant. However, these physical collections only exist temporarily – as long as the exhibition is open. After that, they become part of another rich collection, my digital records, which, happily, prolongs my indulgence in collections and collecting.”
*1985, London, UK; studied art history and curating, is curator of the Aram Gallery, London, is fascinated by the material alchemists of design, and thinks that young designers should be encouraged.
Collect to remember
Despite our geopolitical situation, we cannot stop the development of our modern technology. This is the most powerful driver of all changes of the past and the future. Technology of the future will be based on graphene. This remarkably strong material (based on carbon) will replace today’s hero – silicon. Graphene will dematerialise our cross-disciplinary Internet of Things (IoT). Now is the question, what kind of “things’ will be a part of IoT? This new interconnected world will be linked through nano-small semi-conductors that will speed our computers beyond our imagination. We will start to appreciate ordinary products like never before and find extraordinary values in them. Many products have already disappeared and many more will follow. Before, we had a record player, photo camera, notebook, agenda, stationary telephone, TV, video, CDs, books, Yellow Pages, dictionary, encyclopaedia, maps, newspapers, magazines, photo albums and 1000 things more. Today all these “things” fit in one simple smartphone. What we will collect in the future? Already today we have started to COLLECT our “friends” and “links” on social pages. Is this the beginning of a dematerialised collection? Can we collect emotion, or scent or even experience? Can we collect warm hugs and friendly smiles? While our black-scenario-collection will only contain food and water. Anyway, we should collect, appreciate and enjoy various crazy THINGS (products) as long as this is possible before they have disappeared forever. Let’ s collect the archeology of the near future. Don’t trash them – repair them!
*1971 Warsaw, Poland, lives in The Netherlands, is a Creative Business Trend Analyst, design & strategy consultant, co-founder of School of Form in Poznan, runs her own company and blog 360Inspiration. She works in trans-disciplinary trend research for business, industry, government and education and shares on Facebook how she travels the world.
“My collection of largely contemporary art has, like my library, over the years and decades become an alter ego. I am, or have been, in contact in some way with many of the artists whose work is represented in my collection. I got to know Joseph Beuys when I was 17 years old: it all began with one of his works. Most often, but not exclusively, it is not “museum pieces” but very personal works, artists’ letters, gifts, and prints and drawings with dedications, which evoke a sense of continuing closeness. They remind me of specific situations or times in my life, and keep alive memories of those to whom I owe much gratitude – for their open outlook on the world, creative thinking, experiences, the art of conversation, zest for life, and hospitality – all of which, in this age of electronic communication, are too quickly erased, or vanish into the depths of email inboxes. The fact that so many of the works are based on the written word is an indication of a strong connection to the library: collection and library are very closely related.”
*1951, Mönchengladbach, Germany; studied law and art history in Würzburg, Vienna and Munich. He has practised as a lawyer since 1978, initially in Munich and since 1992 in Dresden, and is a criminal law specialist. He has been collecting contemporary art since 1968.
The chase is better than the catch
Looking, searching, seeking finding! The chase is better than the catch. From a very young age I realized I was fascinated by many things, extraordinary things. Most collectors are focussed on just one subject. I’m all over the place. I jump from subject to subject whenever I feel the urge to do so. One moment I’m complete absorbed by by record collecting, the next moment I’m into Rap, BBoy and Graffiti ephemera, Toys, Taxidermy, Art or even the History of the GDR and Berlin. Most interesting to me is the research that goes into collecting. The moment I find what I’m looking for, there’s that rush going through my brain and veins. The excitement is short lived though, as there’s already something new under the horizon to look for.
*19__, lives in Maastricht, The Netherlands. Graphic & Product designer, publisher, Runs ‘From my vault, sharing a piece of History’ on Facebook where he presents his collection of Hip Hop and Disco artifacts.
← Ausstellung 24 (03.09. – 02.11.2014) –
OKOLO OFFLINE TWO – SAMMELN
IM KUNSTGEWERBEMUSEUM DRESDEN Gespräch 32 (29.04.2015) –
RETHINKING ENZO MARI–
SCHAUDEPOT UND MUSEUM FüR GESTALTUNG →
Christoph Merian Stiftung