Private Collections and Their SpacesJune 13, 2016
My process of art collecting began with my affinity for works with which I could establish some level of communication and that I empathized with due to their focus, theme, or materiality. That was how, gradually and over the course of over 25 years, I came to focus on contemporary art from Latin America, because I found greater levels of cultural identification in it.
I have been particularly interested in collecting works from distinct moments in the careers of single artists because, on one hand, it allows me to support the development of their work, and on the other hand it allows me to encounter diverse and heterogeneous characteristics within a certain uniformity, constituted by each artist’s overall oeuvre. In recent decades, art collecting has come to be seen as a public dimension of art because it functions as an instigating element for different artistic manifestations, and its effects are reflected in the production of spaces for encounters between artists along with other professionals from the art world and the public. This is how art collections enter into dialogue with institutions, organizations, and other entities in order to bolster their mutual interests in the artistic field, which has repercussions on the existence of a varied ensemble of spaces for the arts.
Several years ago I began to think about adequate ways of compensating Latin American artists for all of the very meaningful experiences that they are able to transmit through their work, and that was how, beginning at the end of 2013, I was able to put together the Misol Foundation for the Arts, as a platform for them: the artists. At Misol, we didn’t think about constructing a space for showing the collection in a permanent manner, which seemed to us very costly and inefficient, and would have skewed our focus toward ourselves, making us lose sight of what is going on in other spaces. That was why we decided to favor the construction of bridges and alliances with related organizations. The fundamental purpose of Misol has been to support art from Latin America, and we have achieved this through these alliances with entities whose interests are similar to our own, with whom we have been able to put together grant and residency programs. We have been able to bring two Latin American artists-in-residence to Paris, and one Latin American artist living in Madrid to an artistic residency in Guayaquil. The works that the three of them produced as a result of these experiences were exhibited in several spaces such as the École de Beaux Arts and the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, as well as Plaza Lagos in Guayaquil. In Bogotá, near the end of 2014, we also showed the exhibitions resulting from our Creation Grant and Curating Grant. Those shows were exhibited in an alternative space in historical downtown Bogotá. We did a parallel presentation of the results of Misol’s educational project—called Diarios del Barrio, or Neighborhood Diaries—which consisted of a research project undertaken with the residents of Bogotá’s nascent Art District, and which produced three publications.
One very important space for Misol is its website and the social media that complement it, because they function as a platform for information regarding the most relevant artistic production in the Latin American context, with a significant emphasis on Colombia, where the Foundation is located.
Over the course of the past year, we have been able to produce another type of space for art, namely the courses offered by the Misol +Week School, which we put together in collaboration with an important Colombian publication company that was able to connect us with participants who, for the most part, have no previous experience approaching art. This school is focused on reviewing the central problems that have motivated contemporary artistic practices in Latin America, and has been simultaneously developed in Bogotá and Medellín.
The Misol Foundation was created in order to support initiatives which have varied considerably over the course of time, focused on responding to diverse needs for spaces for contemporary art. In a country as diverse and beautiful as Colombia, there is still a need for artistic spaces, both public and private, that attend to the demands of an artistic scene that is still in the process of maturation. With Misol our intention was to contribute to the process of bringing this about.
Translated by Phillip Penix-Tadsen