Art at first sight? Young collectors reveal the works that kick started their collections

31 Oct 2018, 5:25 pm

“Collecting originates essentially in the necessity of telling stories, although there are no structured classified narrative forms for this. Collecting becomes a story that goes along with its time,” wrote independent curator Luiza Teixeira de Freitas for the 2016 SP-Arte catalog.

Understanding how our collections are built today is also understanding which stories are created in contemporaneity. As such, we have asked four young female collectors to tell us which works gave rise to their private and family collections; and what narratives followed them after. Here is what Camilla Barella, Jessica Cinel, Juliana Siqueira de Sá and Maria Rita Drummond had to say.


Camilla Barella

The collection of Camilla Barella, 35, is managed together with her husband Eduardo. “It started out with a very conceptual angle, with a focus on videos and installations. Today, we are looking at more classical media like painting, inserting them in such a way that they dialogue with the other works.” Camilla says her first acquisitions were “US 1997 aquisição”, from Rafael Assef’s photo series “Calças cerzidas” (2004), and “Untitled” (2001), by Ricardo Carioba. “These choices were made for aesthetic reasons mainly. But the fact that both photographers are young is also important. We were interested in getting to know artists from our generation. We had a limited budget and we bought them without the intention to start building a collection,” says Camilla. For her and her husband there is only one restriction in the composition of the family collection: “The one rule we have for our collection is that both of us have to want to buy the work. Not only the artists, but every piece is chosen by us both. It seems like a simple rule, but I believe it is essential for determining the main point of the collection, which is the process and the dialogue. This is more interesting to us than buying the object itself.”


Jessica Cinel

It was two works from artist Lucas Simões’ “Desretratos” series that kick started the art collection of Jessica Cinel, 26. “What drew my attention was the story behind the pieces”. She tells the artist invited close friends over to tell him a secret, while he photographed them using head phones. The intention was not to listen to the secret but to capture each one’s expression at the moment it was being revealed. Jessica believes that the artist thoroughly connects with the theme that permeates her collection: limits and boundaries. “My collection aims to treat the world as a sphere, where works can break any human barrier, be it physical, geographical, sentimental or even political. I like to think of a world without boundaries. And Lucas portrays these limitations of the human mind precisely by exposing an intimate truth, not revealing it at the same time,” says Jessica.


Juliana Siqueira de Sá

Juliana Siqueira de Sá, 40, tells us two works were important milestones in her collection: “Tense”, by Emmanuel Nassar, and “Pintura I”, by Tatiana Blass. “My husband and I came to know Emmanuel’s work when we received a photo as wedding present (2004) by one of our witnesses, a major art collector. Later on, when I began to build an interest and delve into the world of art, I purchased one of the artist’s works. However, this piece suffered serious damage when it was stored while we were living in Russia and ended up being replaced by another work. As such, since I no longer own that piece, I now consider my first work of art a small painting by Tatiana Blass”. Today, Juliana’s collection focuses on works by female artists – particularly Brazilian and Latin American. “I think it’s peculiar the fact that my first acquisition, which was by a male artist, was “replaced” with one by a female artist, which is the direction I subsequently gave to the collection.”


Maria Rita Drummond

For collector Maria Rita Drummond, 38, two pieces are noteworthy in the constitution of her personal collection. “I purchased my first piece when I was 19 years old, back in 1999 in Rio de Janeiro. At the time I purchased a print by Amilcar de Castro with my law intern salary. At 21, I received a photo by Miguel Rio Branco (“Amaú”, Aldeia Gorotire, 1983), which was a great dream of mine.” Maria Rita says that the photographer played a key role in building her artistic eye. “Miguel Rio Branco is one of the most important artists in the development of my gaze. Since the artist’s family was very close to my dad’s mother, and he was represented by a gallery run by the mother of a close friend of mine, I was able to accompany his work from an early stage. A single photograph able to synthesize painting, cinema and poetry showed me a greater dimension of visual arts and triggered my interest to further investigate this universe.” With artists from all nationalities and periods in her collection, Maria Rita shared what draws her attention. “Although I am always studying the artists, I follow my instinct and my heart. I am very passionate about my works of art regardless of medium, be it photography, painting, sculpture or video. The entirety of my collection seems coherent to me, even though this was not planned.”