Interview with Ali Keles in Art Index Rotterdam

  • November 2020
  • Rotterdam - the Netherlands

Erika Vati

Interviewer Art Index Rotterdam

Parts of the interview:

What is the main motivation, what is the main reason you collect art?

It is like a love story. When you see an artwork that you like, from that moment a relationship starts between you and the artwork. And then you start to feel the urge to have it close to you. Obviously, it is visual but in my case, I tend to be attracted by the story behind. An artwork on its own can be very beautiful or interesting but the story behind keeps me hooked.

Who inspires you in the art world? Who influenced you as a collector?

I would say the Caldic Collection, which later became the Museum Voorlinden. I was totally impressed by an exhibition called “I promise to love you” curated from the Caldic Collection in Kunsthal in 2011. The founder is a good example of a businessman who built up an enormous and amazing quality art collection. I believe Voorlinden was probably inspired by the Beyeler Foundation near Basel because it has a similar set up. The founder of the Beyeler Foundation was an extraordinary gallerist who was also the co-founder of Art Basel. These are the people who inspire the world and also me. But artists also do, and having a relationship with artists creates the wish to collect art. I could list many more but in the end you need to choose your own path and style and develop a certain taste.

Where would you like to see the Rotterdam art world growing?

I was born and raised in Rotterdam so obviously I would like to see Rotterdam become a hub, a place where, internationally, people are willing to come and see art. I think we have done very well with the new “Depot” of Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum which has already raised huge attention internationally. It was on the front page of important newspapers like the New York Times. It is an enormous job, what Sjarel Ex and his team did with the help of sponsors and the municipality. To make a museum collection visible as a whole and to be able to walk through it from below surface to the top floor—it’s an impressive achievement. It’s a ground-breaking approach to make a museum collection completely transparent, conserving it and at the same time showing it. Also, for us collectors there will be the possibility to rent a space and publicly show our private collection. It’s really fascinating. It’s a big step for the art scene here. Well done Rotterdam!

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