The gallery is becoming an approachable creature again
Collecting art should be seen as an emotional investment; this dialogue is a love letter to all the works of art and artists that surround Thor Salden. The Antwerp-based photography student seeks and works in his own way to pursue his artistic desires and ventures. Besides his practice as a photographer, he is a member of the collective Abattoir Anvers and will open a new gallery space for contemporary art in November (@ponti.space). As a young novice collector and artist himself, we had a conversation about sustainable thinking, online auctions, and exciting developments in the gallery scene.
Every story has a beginning; what is yours in collecting?
In the past, friends have given me several works, including Shirley Villavicencio Pizango who painted a portrait of me that I later received as a gift. Bendt Eyckermans also gave me a preliminary study for a work that was shown at his first exhibition. Because I am surrounded by artistic friends, collecting seems almost natural.
Because I am surrounded by artistic friends, collecting seems almost natural
As an artist yourself, how do you feel about trading art?
Since there is a lot of speculation in the art world, the market has completely changed. Suddenly, a work of art becomes an abstract share. As a young artist, this is a very double-edged position. It means that you can shoot upwards at lightning speed, but as a consequence, you have to worry about prices very early on in your career. It is important to guard yourself against this; otherwise, it is simply not sustainable.
Since there is a lot of speculation in the art world, the market has completely changed
Whose work have you bought recently?
A few months ago on a random Thursday morning, I followed an online auction. One of the items for sale was a work by photographer Dirk Braeckman. I had decided that one day I would like to bid on an auction, so this was my chance. Of course, I thought that I would be easily outbid, but in the end, I won! In my opinion, it is silly to leave the money I earn in my bank account. I think it is more fun to have something hanging on my wall. Every month I try to put something aside to obtain in new artworks.
How important is the role of the gallery?
There are some very exciting developments in the gallery scene, like Lina Ejdaa's Box 22 or Medusa. Claptrap is another interesting initiative led by Leo Alessandro Lopez and Joppe Venema. The gallery is becoming an approachable creature again instead of the stereotypical, sterile and terrifying space it can be sometimes. I hope to achieve the same result with the gallery that I am opening with friends in Antwerp.
Should collecting art be seen as an investment?
Personally, I do not consider it to be a form of investment, at least not in financial terms. It is rather an emotional investment, a feeling of happiness because I can surround myself every day with the works I have collected. If I wake up in the morning and can have a coffee while looking at an artwork that appeals to me, I feel satisfied.
If I wake up in the morning and can have a coffee while looking at an artwork that appeals to me, I feel satisfied
Can we make collecting more accessible?
An interesting development is that many young artists who have an exhibition are releasing editions in the form of a screen print, a risoprint, or any other form. Those editions are very accessible for young people. Many of these young artists know that their friends will not easily buy their work and want to make their works more shareable. However, I hope that someday I will be able to buy the works of all my friends.