What does it mean to collect? And why do people collect? Is collecting a hobby, or is it a neurotic compulsion?
Instead of speaking of a neurosis, an art collector will speak of having a passion. When is a collection complete, when do you stop collecting, and when do you begin a new collection? There are a lot of things I collect, like super8 cameras, retro consoles, chairs, musical instruments and much more. Probably because I’m not good at throwing things away and I easily buy things at flea markets. I don’t collect art. I get art either through trading or being given it by friends and colleagues.
My largest collection is of wrapped scaffolding in front of the fronta of buildings. I started this collection after I installed a castle of 25 square metres for the exhibition “Het weiland dat beroemd wilde worden” (The meadow that wanted to be famous) at Dertien Hectare. This “castle” was wrapped in white “scaffolding” canvas.
It’s been years, but I still take a photo nearly every day while cycling, driving, taking the bus or the tram of canvas, often coloured, wrapped around a scaffolding in front of a building. My collection spans thousands of photos, and I find myself reaching for my phone whenever I spot a scaffold.
I’ve reached a point where my friends immediately recognise what I’m about to do, and sometimes even jokingly send me a photo they’ve made with their own phone. For me, it’s not about the photo, but about the action and the collection that ensues from it.
In my case, it truly is a neurotic compulsion and I simply can’t stop expanding my collection.
Making a snapshot of a new colour or colour combination against a facade gives me a sensation of pleasure.
Around two years ago, I started a new photo collection that I, once again, collect using my phone’s camera.
Often, when I’m standing or sitting somewhere, I’ll take out my phone, turn on the camera, and take a photo. The picture will always show my feet and possibly those of the person next to me.
Many of my shoes, trousers, and slippers have made their appearance, and the locations are greatly varied.
This collection, too, now consists of thousands of photos...
The key to being a good painter is by placing the last brushstroke on the canvas at precisely the right moment.
Will I only be able to stop collecting scaffolds if I make an artwork out of them? My wife has been telling me for years that I should make them into a publication.
I never started this collection with the intention of making an artwork, but because I simply felt the necessity to collect.
Often, neurosis, hobby, or passion will form an important part of an artist’s oeuvre. Sometimes on purpose, other times through intuition.