Interview with Ramin Salsali
Salsali Private Museum – Dubai, United Arab Emirates
What was the first piece of artwork you purchased, and when was this?
I started collecting art when I was 21. The first paintings I acquired were by Kiddy Citny, an artist and musician based in Berlin. He is known for painting on parts of the Berlin Wall before its fall in 1989. There are our pieces; one is in my office in the museum, two are in my Berlin residence and one is in my Hamburg residence.
Why do you collect?
I believe that most of us do have an interest in collecting objects. My interest in collecting art is natural and routed in admiration for any objects that I collect. I remember how my mother used to take my brothers and I to visit museums, in particular the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art in Iran. These visits had a significant impact on me. From a very young age I learnt to appreciate art and culture and also beauty in my surroundings.
Does your collection follow a concept or a specific theme?
To be honest, no concept as such. I collected what I liked. I never collected based on a certain pattern. It is obvious that my collection does reflect my environment of the last years. In recent years I have concentrated on contemporary art from the Middle East. Who are the artists you are currently following? Reza Derakshani, Sara Rahbar, Amirhossein Zanjani, Ramtin Zad, Pantea Rahmani, Manal Al Dowayan, Kiddy Citny and Hazem Harb.
Do you have a personal relationship with the artist you collect?
I personally know many of the artists in my collection and their work continues to inspire me. I believe by having a personal relationship and friendship with the artist, the artworks will gain another dimension in the life of a collector. I strongly recommend building up a relationship and friendship with the artists, as I believe it to be essential to evolve together.
Why did you decide to make your collection publicly accessible?
I believe in the social responsibility of all individuals and corporations to contribute to the development of creativity in their communities by sharing an art collection with the public. Moreover creating and enforcing of the culture of collecting was very important for me. Salsali Private Museum is the first collector center in the world to provide a free of charge service to local and international collectors, allowing them to connect with each other, artists and galleries from the region.
Which publicly accessible private collection would you recommend visiting?
I would recommend the Samdani Collection in Dhaka, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Torino, MAST Bologna, and the Sabanci Museum in Istanbul.
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