We continue with presentation of individual collection we show right now at Kunstgewerbemuseum in Dresden. This time collection of Opinions.
Important part of Okolo’s and Depot Basel’s work is a constant conversation with others. Within the discussion of what collecting means to us we asked individuals that move in the world of design, art, science or that are everyday to tell us their views and ideas on collecting things and keeping them for future generations.
"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 fifties in Brugge, Belgium, the Venice of the North, has world citizenship. She is mostly working as a writer and curator in the field of design and architecture. Criticism and happiness are her favored waste of time. She collects chip forks, orange wrappers, sugar packets and more.
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, 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 then, 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, fascinated by designs’ material alchemists and thinks that young designers should be encouraged
Why not collect?
“We do not have a permanent collection of its own and are not aiming to have one. By leaving the role of collecting to the museum we are able to create space to reflect and discuss current societal developments and speculate on possible scenarios for the future: will we only collect the materialized object? When thinking about changing concepts of authorship, ownership and intellectual property, the museum as a site of a model collection should be questioned, as well as the limits of what is collectable.”
* 1967, Genk, Belgium, studied product design at the Media & Design Academy in Genk, is founder and artistic director of Z33 – house for contemporary art in Hasselt (BE), is a curator and critic of design, architecture and contemporary art
“As physical objects these rocks are made 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, 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.
“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.
“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.
Is Open Design collectable?
"I think that for a collector, an object becomes significant when it carries a good story. Many times it is about the values of uniqueness or rarity. Open Design tells a new story, replacing these traditional values with a vision about the opportunities of products in today's networked culture, with expressive design, and very easily produced by the designer. From a collector's point of view, this just might make the object significant and be a good story to own."
*1964 Haifa, Israel, a designer and design educator living in Berlin, pioneering Open Design since 2004
"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 × 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 prints 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 analyzing different aspects of their histories, their forms of representation, the notion of place, and the way meaning is structured from them to us the user. 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 & Printmaking from the Maine College of Art. His publications were purchased by the MoMA / Franklin Furnace Artist Book Collection. Promotes the 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, Frankfurt/ Oder, 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 model ships 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 it ‘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 than neatly arrange them to create a cabinet 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 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 Years Eve customs fascinate me. It's alchemy and traditional occultism in the form of a half industrial, commercial product for home use. Mostly the symbols are blister packed in a six-pack with a crappie tin spoon – combined with rather ugly graphic design. It's the variation of the same elements but each set is different. l like the casting tins and also the failed casts of this tiny objects. From an artistic view this are sculptures or reliefs, which should be transformed in an abstract object, which is interpreted supernatural."
*1971, born in Leipzig, lives in Leipzig, Germany, studied applied art in Schneeberg, is product designer and photographer, collects fortune-telling figurines
Collection of everything
"Collecting is like a treasure hunt for me. Although I am rarely looking for something specific, beautiful or outstanding and mostly old objects grab my attention. I need to get them and once they're mine I often want to keep them forever. It's the curiosity to discover new things that always beat my rational mind that wants to get rid of stuff. Working as teacher and also creating film décors always makes me think that I could use almost everything again. And once there is a nostalgic thought towards the item too, it is a hopeless matter that is great for my collection of everything though!"
* 1984, Zürich, Switzerland, is a primary schoolteacher and artist, collects almost everything from patterns, lamps, old postcards and spices
"A Picture always leads to another Picture."
* 1981, Mainz, Germany is Internet Communication designer and initiator, is admin of nearly 100 Facebook groups, 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 Art Craft and Design, loves everything to do with food.
Stamps & coins
"Both of my grandfathers owned a collection of stamps and coins. I took over. I just love the perfection of the execution and attention to the detail. They are designed to both perform (communicate) as well as feel beautiful. Old banknotes are a work of art, and so are some memorabilia coins. The world of stamp engraving is reserved to highly skilled craftsmen."
*1979, Slovakia, lives in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, is a designer, studied engineering, painting and conceptual design, is 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?
"It 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 refurbish and restore bikes my all life long and I like to bring them back to life, on the road or in the collections of museums You only own the collection up to a certain amount and then the collection owns you. Some collectors become slaves of their property."
*1961, Prague, is a former professional cyclist and owner of a cyclist brand, collecting means his life, it's connected with his work, his friends, his holidays, his family
“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 Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, collects experiences of every hue and paradoxically, owns many more books than works of art.
“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.
“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, 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, 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.
“Collections are permanent assemblies, conserving culture through things. Today, however, we are experiencing a material culture which is permeated with digital technology, and is thus becoming more ephemeral. At the same time, the third dimension has become technically reproducible. 3D printers are launching the next assault on the ‘original’. Museums will have to change if they want their collections to be the cultural memory of the future.”
*1960 in Soest, historian and Director of the Technische Sammlungen Dresden, is currently working on extending the museum with a department for new technology.
OKOLO OFFLINE TWO, COLLECTING
Schloss Pillnitz, Bergpalais
3 September - 2 November
Photos: OKOLO, Courtesy of Kunstgewerbemuseum