BMW Art Guide by Independent Collectors

Chasing the Future

dslcollection – Paris, France

Inside the DSL Collection
Inside the DSL Collection

The history of China is filled with epochal changes compressed into shockingly brief timelines. The country’s relationship to contemporary art is a case in point. In an interview with Ashton Chandler for the website, Art:I:Curate, the co-founder of the dslcollection, Sylvain Levy, remarks that “Chinese contemporary art began in 1980”. Rather like Philip Larkin’s reflection on the charmed year of 1963 in British culture, the year 1980 in China appears to be regarded as a year in which a new way of viewing the world crystallised for a generation of Chinese artists. Levy has dedicated the ensuing decades to chronicling and exhibiting works that have emerged from this originary period through to the present. He and his wife, Dominique, administer one of the most diverse and forward-looking private collections of contemporary Chinese art in Europe. The dslcollection is, in many ways, as unique as the works that comprise it. What makes the dslcollection remarkable is that not only it engages the robust diversity of Chinese contemporary art, but also how fully its founders embrace the centrality of circulation and fluidity in making their collection available to audiences throughout the world. This is in part due to the Levys’ integration of digital culture into the distribution and display of the works they collect.

dslcollection first VR private museum

Levy has spoken, in an interview with Lara Sedbon, of the importance of reaching what he calls the “new eyes”, the generation born into the aesthetics of digital imagery, whose brains are “moulded by moving images” and whose “eyes are shaped by saturated colors”. In order to reach these new eyes, and the eyes of older generations curious about or fascinated with contemporary Chinese visual culture, the Levys have overseen the creation of a digital museum to house the works of the hundreds of artists who feature in the collection. To visit the online space is a dizzying experience. The gallery consists of digitally rendered concrete walls along a seemingly infinite plain. The walls look like something between a bunker and a maze built on a stretch of chalky, white ground. The walls rise beneath a sky that is bright but clouded, rather like an unpredictable day by the sea on the British coast. The works on show in the temporary exhibition include a piece by Hipic, a collective of artists exploring the ways images are collected, branded and distributed using digital technologies. Their work in the current exhibition features a grainy image of three running men. Their embodiment has a precariousness that contrasts starkly with the wall on which the work “hangs”; it’s stolidity only highlights the image’s ephemerality. Also currently showing is a piece by Huang Yong Ping entitled, Un immigrant sans papiers, an installation integrating elements of sculpture and taxidermy which explores boundaries that are both physical, and conceptual.

Zhang Huan, ’Peace"
Zhang Huan, ’Peace"

The collection is expansive, but, like the country from which its works derive, it is always changing and being redefined. The Levy’s frequently rotate works into and out of the collection, a collection that has included more than 200 artists since its inception in 2005. Speaking to Artsy, Levy stressed “relevance” as a key consideration in the composition of the collection, but he has also been at pains to stress the diversity of the culture of contemporary China and the need for artistic projects like the dslcollection to reflect this. Currently, the collection includes superstars like Cao Fei whose searing, absurd Rabid Dogs (2002)—among three of her video works in the dslcollection—expresses the contradictions and vibrancy of contemporary China with a lurid elegance, as well as younger figures like the young curator and artist, Hu Weiyi. Despite being somewhat older than other collection incumbents, the legendary veteran of provocative Chinese art, Tang Song also features. Though no single artist or collection could truly encompass the totality of contemporary Chinese art, in its depth, and its dedication to constantly renewing itself, the dslcollection, more than many others at least offers a more detailed glimpse of a country whose culture is increasingly influencing global artistic trends. In one sense, the openness and accessibility of the dslcollection’s virtual museum illustrates one of the most salient truths of contemporary art: if one opens one’s eyes, China is everywhere.

Jia Aili, ’Our Century’
Jia Aili, ’Our Century’

William Kherbek is the writer of the novel "Ecology of Secrets" (2013, Arcadia Missa) and "UltraLife" (2016, Arcadia Missa). His art journalism has appeared in a number of publications in the UK, US, Germany, Switzerland and Romania.

All images courtesy dslcollection, Paris

More Information on dslcollection

Collections (93)

Museum Liaunig

Nuriel Molcho and Francesca Gavin travel out of Vienna to hillside Carinthia, to meet with Peter Liaunig

Fundació Vila Casas

Three buildings, three points of focus: painting, sculpture and photography

Gibbs Farm

A sculpture park in XXL format with monumental art in the grandness of nature

Kloster Schoenthal

Nature-inspired sculptures in a pristine landscape

Pinchuk Art Centre

Blue-chip contemporary in the first private museum in the former USSR

Museo James Turrell — The Hess Art Collection, Colomé

Turrell’s largest Skyspace and additional light rooms in breathtaking surroundings

Kunst(Zeug)Haus

An extensive private collection of Swiss contemporary art of the last fifty years

Mathaf—Arab Museum of Modern Art

A Royal Collection Spanning 200 Years of Arab Art – Doha, Qatar

Sara Piccinini

Senior Coordinator, Collezione Maramotti - Reggio Emilia, Italy

Reflection and Speculation

Sammlung von Kelterborn – Frankfurt, Germany

KaviarFactory

DJ Cassy and Francesca Gavin meet with collectors Venke and Rolf A. Hoff in Henningsvær, Norway

Deichtorhallen Hamburg – Sammlung Falckenberg

Positions of social criticism in German and American contemporary art – Hamburg, Germany

Houghton Hall

Pari Ehsan and Francesca Gavin meet with collector Lord David Cholmondeley in King’s Lynn, Norfolk

The Walther Collection

Inside and Outside the Frame – Neu Ulm, Germany

Peter Ibsen Collection

Minimalist Works That Hone Your Sense for Detail – Copenhagen, Denmark

Initiating Dialogues

Sammlung Hoffmann – Berlin, Germany

The Mallin Collection & Buckhorn Sculpture Park

Andrea Denver and Francesca Gavin meet with collectors Sherry and Joel Mallin in Upstate New York

The Agah Uğur Collection

One of the Largest Video Art Collections in Istanbul, Turkey

KA Modern and Contemporary Art Space

900 Square Meters Dedicated to Lebanon’s Most Significant Artists – Beirut, Lebanon

Art About Beauty and Infirmity

Collezione De Iorio – Trento, Italy

Living Collection

Gary Yeh and Francesca Gavin meet with architect and collector William Lim in Hong Kong

Early Passions

Z Collection – Hong Kong, China

Infinite Interiors

Philara Collection – Dusseldorf, Germany

Papko Art Collection

Works of Turkish Modernism at the legendary Ralli Apartment in Istanbul

Risky Business

Astrup Fearnley Museet – Oslo, Norway

Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo

Pari Ehsan and Francesca Gavin meet with collector Patricia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Turin, Italy

Something Special, Something Sacred

The Goss-Michael Foundation – Dallas, United States of America

JAHM – Justin Art House Museum

Digital and Abstract Art — Melbourne, Australia

A More Democratic Art

MACBA – Museum of Contemporary Art of Buenos Aires, Argentina

Embracing the Accidental

Trajković Collection – Belgrade, Serbia

Galila's P.O.C.

A Collection Made up of Thematic Collections – Brussels, Belgium

Establishing Roots and Creating Links

The Ovidiu Șandor Collection – Timișoara, Romania

Instituto Figueiredo Ferraz

Abstract painting and concept art in Brazil’s interior – São Paulo

Conversation Pieces

KUNSTSAELE Berlin – Berlin, Germany

Magazzino Italian Art

Contemporary Italian Art on the Hudson River – New York

Slow Learning

de la Cruz Collection – Miami, United States of America

Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa

A venue for contemporary African art – Cape Town

The Elliott Eyes Collection

Engaging With the Collectors – Sydney

Foundation Francès

A French roadtrip reaching the radical reflections of artist Kader Attia

The Sublime Hyacinth Collection

Czech Art Meets Czech Design – Prague, Czech Republic

Marciano Art Foundation

Contemporary art at the Masonic temple – Los Angeles

Time Stamps

Julia Stoschek Collection – Berlin, Germany

Generative Grammars

Servais Family Collection – Brussels, Belgium

Charged Atmospheres

Transformer Station – Cleveland, United States of America

Places in, and out of, Time

Adrastus Collection – Arévalo, Spain

Eloquent Silences

The Givon Art Forum – Tel Aviv, Israel

Counting to Ten

Ten Cubed – Melbourne, Australia

Dispersing Narratives

The Wedge Collection – Toronto, Canada

Dialogues in Nature

Chatsworth – Bakewell, Great Britain

Present Pasts

The Feuerle Collection – Berlin, Germany

Space for the Future

The Vanhaerents Art Collection – Brussels, Belgium

Colección Contemporánea

A Global Collection from a Seasoned Art Collector In Mexico City

Adrastus Collection

A Collection That Shows the Diversity of Art in the Age of Globalization – Arevalo, Spain

Masters and Romantics

Collection Lambert – Avignon, France

Fondazione Rolla

A Collection of Modern and Contemporary Photography in Ticino

Finnish Rhapsody

Didrichsen Art Museum – Helsinki, Finland

Cranford Collection

One of Europe’s Most Important Collections with Renowned Contemporaries in Regent’s Park – London

Broad Minded

Artist Tomasz Kobialka on The Broad – Los Angeles, USA

Jean-Paul Najar Foundation

European-American Post-Minimalist Art in a Bauhaus-inspired building – Dubai

Treasure Hunt

The Wanås Foundation/Wanås Konst – Knislinge, Sweden

AMC Collezione Coppola

A Curious Collector Acquiring Art to Broaden his Understanding of the World

A Home for Light and Color

MALBA – Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires

Newport Street Gallery

Damien Hirst’s ‘Murderme’ Collection finds a permanent home – London

Franks Suss Collection

A Duo Investing in Artists and Not Cashing In – Hong Kong, London and Sydney

Mallin Collection & Buckhorn Sculpture Park

A Magic Sculpture Garden in Westchester County – Pound Ridge, New York

Shine On

Wurlitzer – Berlin-Pied-à-Terre Collection – Berlin, Germany

Houghton Hall – King's Lynn

Lavish 18th Century interiors juxtaposed with contemporary outdoor sculpture

Venet Foundation

An Artist’s Take on Collecting in the South of France

G2 Kunsthalle

Large-scale paintings of the New Leipzig School in dialogue

The Immaculate Collection

Igal Ahouvi Art Collection – Tel Aviv, Israel

dslcollection

The best of Chinese contemporary art, available 24/7/365

Thoma Foundation

Two intimate art spaces in Chicago and Santa Fe encourage dialogue between work and viewer

Lyon Housemuseum

Located near Melbourne, Australia, collector Corbett Lyon designed the Housemuseum to share it with the public

Follow The Yellow Brick Road

Inhotim – Instituto de Arte Contemporânea e Jardim Botânico

Portraiture Confronting a Land’s Traumatic Past

The Walther Collection – Project Space New York – New York City

Conceptual Authenticity

Sammlung Barbara und Axel Haubrok - haubrok projects - Berlin, Germany

A Self-taught Collector

Vass Collection - Veszprém, Hungary

Roots in Rotterdam

Concordia Collection - Rotterdam, Netherlands

Louvre goes Lens – and Pinault follows

How France’s most established museum and collector are redeveloping forgotten places

History Reinvented

Insights into the influential collection of Martin Parr

A Collection Which Never Sleeps

David Roberts Art Foundation – Great Britain, London

Get Lucky

David Walsh and his MONA

An Eye into a Secret World

SIP Shpilman Institute for Photography – Tel Aviv, Israel

Gifts for Philadelphia

Private collectors with a generous heart

A New Home for Miami’s Art Scene

On the opening of the Jorge M. Pérez Museum

Prima Materia at Punta Della Dogana

François Pinault Foundation - Venice, Italy

Eric and Jean Cass Collection

A private collection goes public

Bernardo Paz’s Transformative Museum

A closer look at Inhotim in Brazil

The Open Road to Jupiter

Robert & Nicky Wilson - Jupiter Artland

Collecting with an Impact

Dakis Joannou - Deste Foundation for Contemporary Art

Menil Collection Makeover

Starting with the parking lot

White Rabbit Collection

Chinese Contemporary Art – Australia, Sydney