BMW Art Guide by Independent Collectors

Karsten Schmitz

Arbeitswohnung Federkiel – Leipzig, Germany

Karsten Schmitz
Karsten Schmitz

What was the first piece of artwork you purchased, and when was this?

In 1992 I went to an art fair in Frankfurt and bought two paper works by the Leipzig artist KAESEBERG at Judy Lybke’s EIGEN ART stand. Those were my first artworks.

Why do you collect?

Collecting art has become somewhat my ‘backup memory’. I am a collector but also a hunter of souvenirs. Every work I own is connected to a special moment or reminiscence. I know the artists I collect and associate a specific place and time with the work. Ultimately what I collect simultaneously creates something like an external hard drive of the memories I keep.

“Schleuse” by Thilo Schulz (2010), installation from the collection Federkiel
“Schleuse” by Thilo Schulz (2010), installation from the collection Federkiel
“Building Something Out Of Something” - permanent intervention of artist group FAMED (detail)
“Building Something Out Of Something” - permanent intervention of artist group FAMED (detail)

Does your collection follow a concept or a specific theme?

From the very start I have focused on collecting German artists from my generation, especially artists from Berlin, Leipzig and Munich. Recently I have become more and more interested in site-specific works.

Who are the artists you are currently following?

I find it hard to limit myself to just a few names, as I am very passionate about a lot of artists working in the field of contemporary art and thus follow many different positions. However if I have to give you just a few names of an in fact much more extensive list, I would say that I am currently following Thilo Schulz, Olaf Nicolai, Thomas Thiede, Benjamin Bergmann, KAESEBERG, Yoshihiro Suda, Nevin Aladag and Eva Grubinger.

Do you have a personal relationship with the artist you collect?

Yes, indeed. My wife and I enjoy keeping in touch with the artists we collect. I would say it is because of our friendly relationship with these artists that we constantly exchange and develop new ideas for exhibitions and projects.

“Building Something Out Of Something” - permanent intervention of artist group FAMED
“Building Something Out Of Something” - permanent intervention of artist group FAMED

Why did you decide to make your collection publicly accessible?

To me contemporary art is nothing that can ever really be finished or completed and especially not something that is exclusive. Contemporary art lives due to the dialogue, discussions and controversies it generates. On my part I would like to provide a room for these discussions. For over 10 years now I have been working on developing the area around the old Baumwollspinnerei in Leipzig, which I discovered almost 20 years ago. Sharing knowledge and discovering new art with others is and has always been very important to me. Therefore I have made it a priority to make the works in my collection available to the public. We currently still find ourselves at the start of this mission, which is why we are teaming up with art enthusiasts such as Independent Collectors in order to find new ways to mediate contemporary art.

Which publicly accessible private collection would you recommend visiting?

The relationship between art and architecture is something that has always played a pivotal role to me as it greatly intensifies the experience of discovering someone’s private art collection. Thus I would recommend visiting the following collections: Sammlung Goetz (architect: Herzog & de Meuron), La Colección Jumex (architect: David Chipperfield), The Walther Collection (architect: Braunger Wörtz), Wanås Foundation, Julia Stoschek Collection (architect: Kuehn Malvezzi)

All images via Stiftung Federkiel: Photo of Karsten Schmitz by Matthias Haslauer; Photos of

More Information on Stiftung Federkiel

Collectors (57)

Christen Sveaas

Kistefos Museet, Jevnaker, Norway

Maurizio Morra Greco

Fondazione Morra Greco, Naples, Italy

Noemi Givon

Givon Art Forum – Tel Aviv, Israel

Qiao Zhibing

TANK Shanghai and Qiao Space - Shanghai, China

Jochen Zeitz

Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) - Cape Town, Africa

Dominique & Sylvain Levy

DSLCollection – Paris, France

Andrea von Goetz

Sammlung Blankenburg – Hamburg, Germany

Michael Buxton

Buxton Contemporary - Melbourne, Australia

Anastasios A. Gkekas

The Office Collection - Nicosia, Cyprus

Christine and Andrew Hall

Hall Art Foundation - Reading, USA & Derneburg, Germany

João Carlos de Figueiredo Ferraz

Instituto Figueiredo Ferraz (IFF) - São Paulo, Brazil

Anita Zabludowicz

Zabludowicz Collection – London, United Kingdom

Gordon Elliott

The Elliott Eyes Collection - Sydney, Australia

Seth Stolbun

The Stolbun Collection – Houston, USA

Christian & Karen Boros

Sammlung Boros – Berlin, Germany

Maria Didrichsen

Didrichsen Art Museum – Helsinki, Finland

Timo Miettinen

Salon Dahlmann – Berlin, Germany

Marli Hoppe-Ritter

Sammlung Marli Hoppe-Ritter – Waldenbuch, Germany

Désiré Feuerle

The Feuerle Collection – Berlin, Germany

The Vague Space

Christian Kaspar Schwarm on the first solo presentation of his collection at the Weserburg Bremen

Gudrun & Bernd Wurlitzer

Wurlitzer Pied A Terre Collection – Berlin, Germany

Corbett Lyon

Lyon Housemuseum – Melbourne, Australia

Geert Verbeke-Lens

Verbeke Foundation – Kemzeke, Belgium

László Vass

Vass Collection – Veszprém, Hungary

Daisuke Miyatsu

Dream House – Ichikawa, Japan

Samara Walbohm & Joe Shlesinger

Scrap Metal Gallery – Toronto, Canada

Charles Riva

Charles Riva Collection – Brussels, Belgium

Venke & Rolf Hoff

KaviarFactory – Lofoten, Norway

Alain Servais

Servais Family Collection – Brussels, Belgium

Ivo Wessel

Sammlung Ivo Wessel - Berlin, Germany

Ramin Salsali

Salsali Private Museum – Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Vittorio Gaddi

Collezione Nunzia e Vittorio Gaddi – Lucca, Italy

Miguel Leal Rios

Fundação Leal Rios – Lisbon, Portugal

Julia Stoschek

Julia Stoschek Collection – Dusseldorf, Germany

Gertraud and Dieter Bogner

Kunstraum Buchberg – Gars am Kamp, Austria

Bob Rennie

Rennie Collection at Wing Sang – Vancouver, Canada

Heiner Wemhöner

Sammlung Wemhöner – Herford, Germany

Lin Han

M WOODS – Beijing, China

Kenny Goss

The Goss-Michael Foundation – Dallas, USA

Devon Dikeou

The Dikeou Collection - Denver, USA

Thomas Olbricht

ME Collectors Room Berlin/Stiftung Olbricht – Berlin, Germany

Mera & Donald Rubell

Rubell Family Collection – Miami, USA

Pétur Arason

Safn – Berlin, Germany / Reykjavík, Iceland

Steffen Hildebrand

G2 Kunsthalle – Leipzig, Germany

Rafaela Seppälä

RKF Collection – Helsinki, Finland

Frédéric de Goldschmidt

Frédéric de Goldschmidt – Brussels, Belgium

Daniel Teo

The Private Museum – Singapore, Singapore

Claudio Cosma

Sensus – Luoghi per l’arte Contemporanea – Florence, Italy

Michał Borowik

Michał Borowik Collection – Warsaw, Poland

Herbert Gerisch

Herbert-Gerisch-Stiftung - Neumünster, Germany

José Berardo

Museu Coleção Berardo – Lisbon, Portugal

Bärbel Grässlin and Karola Kraus

Sammlung Grässlin - St. Georgen, Germany

Joëlle and Eric Romba

Rocca Stiftung – Berlin, Germany

Myriam and Amaury de Solages

Maison Particulière – Brussels, Belgium

Friedrich Gräfling

Sammlung Fiede - Aschaffenburg, Germany

Benjamin Genocchio

Fair Director at The Armory Show