Collect 2011 – Adrian Sassoon: i numeri della qualità
Vi potete immaginare che essendo in territorio britannico, moltissime siano le gallerie targate UK a partecipare a Collect. Infatti è così. Alcune di esse sono specializzate solo in gioiello contemporaneo (ve ne parlerò nei prossimi giorni) altre in arte applicata contemporanea in generale. Io, per l’intervista che segue, ho scelto quella di Adrian Sassoon – tra le più quotate a livello mondiale – che si occupa anche di “antico” (porcellane di Sèvres, per esempio), ma che ovviamente a Collect porta solo la sezione contemporanea. Come leggerete, le idee nel campo del gioiello contemporaneo del suo proprietario sono molto chiare: niente che sia soltanto “wearable” e soprattutto “pochi artisti, ma buoni”. Tanto per intenderci uno dei nomi di punta è Giovanni Corvaja. Al quale si aggiungono Adam Paxon e Kayo Saito. Jacqueline Ryan, che è normalmente rappresentata dalla galleria, a Collect espone con la Scottish Gallery.
What’s new at your gallery for this edition of Collect? Are you going to present any new contemporary jewellery artists? Or is there any new work about which you are particularly excited?
Michael Eden’s work
Your gallery participates in some of the most important fairs like SOFA in New York and Tefaf in Maastricht. Which are the main differences between these events and Collect? And as a gallerist do you have different expectations of these fairs?
At COLLECT we meet visitors who are already quite interested in contemporary works of art whereas at TEFAF the visitors are at first not expecting to see such objects on the same level as grand antiques. At TEFAF we meet people from many countries of Continental Europe and of course in New York from the USA. Needless to say at COLLECT the visitors are over-whelmingly from the UK. For TEFAF this year we sent out leaflets in seven languages selected according to their destinations, including UK and US English and I hope that recipients noticed.
Compared with other UK galleries and looking at the list of your contemporary jewellery artists it seems that you prefer quality to quantity. What are the main characteristics that you appreciate in an artist and that make you decide to include him/her in your gallery?
Your reference to ‘quality’ shows that you can see we don’t sell jewellery made from recycled plastic or other modern materials that hang from the crown of your head down to your feet to be noticed. Jewellery to my mind should be worn, not just wearable, and in fact I firmly believe that all works of art should have a use at some level. So we are keen on smart, novel, practical non-repetitive jewellery. Tinted cultured pearls, microscopic diamonds and metals that can’t be hall-marked as well as a few bits of a not-even old ceramic plate don’t make jewellery for me.
Do you think that the job of gallerist has changed in the last few years? How?
Not really. You have to establish a taste and work in a clearly defined field which appeals to a range of collectors you are able to converse with. Rather than have exhibitions in one gallery and expect multitudes of visitors the art fairs allow someone like me to run a ‘nomadic’ gallery and therefore to meet many more people than I could from one location.
In your opinion, how has the recent economic crisis affected the contemporary jewellery market (galleries, artists, collectors)? Has this crisis affected museum acquisitions?
Judging by our sales in the last year in jewellery alone when the ‘crisi’ lifts we should hope for more sales. In the last year or so we have only sold contemporary jewellery into museums on three continents and I would be very happy for that to increase. I do think that museums and curators are able to make purchases through outside resources such as the wonderful Art Fund and by making themselves respected and adored by generous individual donors.