“Approximation (Quokka)” (2014) and “Growth Potential (stand alone, zigzag)” (2014), both by Katja Novitskova, installation view M HKA Antwerp

Interview with Patrick Majerus

Sammlung Majerus - Luxembourg City - Luxembourg

What was the first piece of artwork you purchased, and when was this?
What is probably more important than the names of the very first artworks we purchased is the fact that these works are still at the heart of our collection today. We have started buying art in 1998, mostly works by local artists and also some arts & crafts. Our way of slowly familiarizing ourselves with the national art scene was an important step in finding our own collecting style. It was not before 2004, that the collection took a rather international turn. I remember encountering Sven Johne’s work as a crucial experience – his art is still an important part of the fundament of our collection.

Why do you collect?
I have always been curious and enjoyed discovering and collecting new things. As a child I was fascinated by stamps and later on by “bandes dessinées“. There must be an underlying urge to break free of ones own reality and to enrich the everyday life by collecting. Collecting contemporary art clearly means to enhance the quality of life, be it by enjoying the artwork itself, by meeting new interesting people or simply by travelling. 

Does your collection follow a concept or a specific theme?
I don’t think that we consciously follow a specific theme or that one can identify a topic underlying the collection. Maybe one could define a common denominator more easily as an external observant. However, we are generally more interested in artists than specific works. If we decide to collect pieces by a new artist, we quickly try to acquire a mixed lot of his or her works to firmly integrate a novel position into the collection. Later on, there is still the possibility to build on this fundament. We have made the experience that it is quite difficult for single works to find their place within the collection. No matter how good the quality of the artwork is, sometimes its link to other works is missing.

Who are the artists you are currently following?
Of course we follow the development of all of our artists. We are excited about Tim Berresheim’s solo show, coming up at the Kunstverein Düsseldorf this September. New discoveries we have made lately are the works of Michael E. Smith and Katja Novitskova, two very different artists, who both enrich our collection in their very own and special way. 

Do you have a personal relationship with the artist you collect?
At the beginning it was important to us that we attend the openings of our artists’ shows. By now we consider it a luxury to step back a bit and not always be present at every event. Consequently, we are less close to the “new” artists, but that’s alright for us.

Why did you decide to make your collection publicly accessible?
Well, our collection is only partly publicly accessible. We do not have any actual publicly accessible rooms, but we are happy to give insights into the collection at any time. Since three years we have started donating artworks by artists such as David Zink Yi, Sven Johne, Dennis Oppenheim, Alicja Kwade, Lasse Schmidt Hansen, Philipp Goldbach etc. to the museum of contemporary art in Luxembourg (MUDAM). That’s our primary way of making our collection publicly accessible.

Which publicly accessible private collection would you recommend visiting?
Every time Gaby and Wilhelm Schürmann curate an exhibition, we really enjoy it. It is fantastic to see how they present high quality works in refreshing and unexpected ways. The collection Grässlin in St. Georgen in the Black Forest is also definitely worth the journey. Their venues are spread out over the entire city what makes the visit even more exciting. And when we are in Berlin, the Kunstsaele are definitely on the top of our list. 

For more information about Sammlung Majerus please go to page 121 in the BMW Art Guide by Independent Collectors.

“Approximation (Quokka)” (2014) and “Growth Potential (stand alone, zigzag)” (2014), both by Katja Novitskova, installation view M HKA Antwerp
Tim Berresheim, Phoenix - The Guilty Pleasure (Wood) VI, 2009 (detail)

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