Big, bright and luminous eyes, Mrs Grazyna Kulczyk, the world-famous collector of contemporary art appears to have a particular predilection for a black and white sober style in the choice of her outfits. Her appearance depicts her as a distinguished person, sure of herself but at the same time tender-hearted. This is confirmed also by her choices of artists, conceptual and minimalist, such as Piotr Uklański or Miroslav Balka. The latter, in particular, investigates the deepest aspects of human existence through a path to discover sensibility.
She has all the reasons to be proud, and not only of her collection. She created the Muzeum Susch, in the heart of the Swiss Alps. A real jewel originating among the remnants of an ancient monastery of the XII century. In ancient times, this was a site of pilgrimage on the route of Santiago de Compostela. It is surrounded by the Swiss Alps, a scenery which makes the Muzeum Susch a magical place, inspiring art and poetry in a breath-taking location.
Mrs Kulczyk is one of the world-famous collectors we have been following since a while. On the one hand, because she is geographically in our proximity; on the other, because the realm of female collectors always fascinated us.
The consolidated, historical and conceptual artists, which works are showcased in her personal collection are presented to the public in a context conceived as a large experimental contemporary art lab.
Question: As an entrepreneur, collector, and woman in the art world, how are you personally living the effects of this global emergency, that is also a cultural, intellectual, and social shock?
Answer: Like most, my mobility and social contact has been affected. My priority is the safety of my community, for this reason we made the early decision to temporarily close Muzeum Susch. After this, it is to adapt and continue my commitment to the artistic community, especially independent artists. There are enormous repercussions to the current crisis, of which we will feel the impact for a long time to come. It is imperative that we continue speaking, creating and developing for whatever reality will exist once the crisis in under control.
Q: Thinking about the future, what should be the content and values of the artistic productions that will help preserve the world of art?
A: This is not the first, and likely not the last time, that the work of artists has been tested. In times such as these, we can call on creative thinkers for guidance, empathy and perspective. My role is to adapt how I support these artists, thinkers and creatives. At Muzeum Susch, we are remotely working to create Stillness & Motion, a new series on our podcast channel ECHOLOT pairing cultural professionals with artists, choreographers, writers and poets in which they discuss this new way of life and provide reflection on their own experiences.
Q: Smart working became a tool used by everybody. In this context, the home appears as the world to live in and to be shown, representing us in that precise moment in time. In this situation, art can offer new aesthetic and wellness opportunities on a personal level. What can art do to become accessible, to be present in more households without being considered an elite class exclusive?
A: Accessibility is so important, it always has been. Before the pandemic, we launched the Muzeum Susch App to enrich visitors’ experiences of the museum, and also to make the content available remotely. All exhibitions, including Muzeum Susch’s 2019 inaugural show A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women, are available through virtual and audio guides with the exhibition curators. There are still important conversations to be had beyond COVID-19, such as the representation of women in society, as these in themselves impact the way COVID-19 is managed.
Q: How do you live the relation with art in your house in this moment?
A: Shortly before the pandemic, I made a decision to purchase a very important work to add another dimension to my collection. I am thinking often when it will be possible to enjoy it live…simply, about the time when all of us can come back to the world we love.
Q: How is your approach as an art collector conditioned by the current situation?
A: My collection is informed by the philosophy of my patronage to the artistic community. At the core of this philosophy is to support overlooked artists and I will continue to do so during this extremely challenging period.
Speaking with her has been fascinating, especially in a difficult moment such as the current one. In her words we can hear the heart of a great collector who loves her job, her origins and who cares about the artists she chose to support. A beautiful example of style, generosity and intelligence.
Katia Tenti. Copyright © 2020 All rights reserved.