BMW Art Guide by Independent Collectors

Treasure Hunt

The Wanås Foundation/Wanås Konst – Knislinge, Sweden

Miroslaw Balka, "Play-pit", 2000. Courtesy the artist. Photo: Anders Norrsell
Miroslaw Balka, "Play-pit", 2000. Courtesy the artist. Photo: Anders Norrsell

The collection at Wanås is much more than a sculpture park. A medieval castle, which the visitor arrives at as if out of nowhere, you’ll walk past the organic milk farm on the way in, surrounded by a wild beech wood forest. Hidden among these trees, some of the greats of contemporary art can be found, such as Marina Abramović, Antony Gormley and Jenny Holzer.

Robert Wilson, "A House for Edwin Denby", 2000. Courtesy the artist. Photo: Anders Norrsell
Robert Wilson, "A House for Edwin Denby", 2000. Courtesy the artist. Photo: Anders Norrsell
Per Kirkeby, "Wanås", 1994. Courtesy the artist. Photo: Anders Norrsell
Per Kirkeby, "Wanås", 1994. Courtesy the artist. Photo: Anders Norrsell

Open all year round, the forest forms Wanås’s main exhibition space, housing (although not literally) works by Martin Puryear, Jeppe Hein and Sissel Tolaas. This collection really breaks the boundaries of the white cube, with its treasure-hunt approach to viewing art, where every season (and in Sweden, they each have their own discernible character) brings a new environment, which in turn adds a new dimension to the work. In winter, the blanket of snow covering the grounds extends onto the beech trees, giving some works, like Roxy Paine’s "Impostor", 1999, greater camouflage, while others, like Miroslaw Balka’s “Play-pit”, 2000, would stand out in any weather.

Gloria Friedmann, "Stigma", 1991. Photo: Anders Norrsell – © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017
Gloria Friedmann, "Stigma", 1991. Photo: Anders Norrsell – © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017
Gunilla Bandolin, "Pyramiden", 1989/1990. Photo: Wanås Konst – © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017
Gunilla Bandolin, "Pyramiden", 1989/1990. Photo: Wanås Konst – © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017
Kari Cavén, "Cow Chapel", 1993. Photo: Anders Norrsell
Kari Cavén, "Cow Chapel", 1993. Photo: Anders Norrsell

Many of the early additions the collection were made of bronze, stone or concrete in order to endure the weather conditions, but under new artistic director Elisabeth Millqvist, the focus has been more on works that look in to and challenge assumptions of sculpture as immovable and fixed. Millqvist has also tried to ensure geographic diversity with her approach to acquiring new works in the collection, whose creators are selected mostly from Nordic and non-Western countries. A black stone sculpture from South African artist Igshaan Adams and a wooden view tower by Tadashi Kawamata.

Very few of the works can be moved around – which gives the collection an extra frisson to a repeat visitor: is my favorite Jene Highstein’s sculpture framed by trees? Or Robert Wilson’s house that include sound and light? There is an impressive scale to showing works outside: sound works travel further, echo deeper, and works of all media require further effort on the part of the viewer, to situate them in the artistic space. This turns the collection tour into a larger experience, where the viewer must put work into finding the art, and discovering its effect on the environment. The collection also makes use of the indoor spaces on the estate, such as Ann Hamilton’s “Lignum”, a permanent installation across five floors, which takes over an entire old grain barn.

Malin Holmberg, "I Will Stop Loving You", 2010. Photo: Anders Norrsell – © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017
Malin Holmberg, "I Will Stop Loving You", 2010. Photo: Anders Norrsell – © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017
Maya Lin, "11 Minute Line", 2004. Courtesy the artist. Photo: Anders Norrsell
Maya Lin, "11 Minute Line", 2004. Courtesy the artist. Photo: Anders Norrsell

Alongside the permanent installations, in the beech woods and beyond, the foundation is always acquiring and commissioning new works. Recent acquisitions include a major outdoor sound and sculpture installation by Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg, a social sculpture by legendary Danish artist Poul Gernes as well as an outdoor installation by William Forsythe.

Josie Thaddeus-Johns is a writer and editor based in Berlin, covering art, fashion, film and more. She writes for Broadly, Dazed, Artslant and others, and is contributing editor at Sleek magazine.

All images courtesy The Wanås Foundation/Wanås Konst, Knislinge

More Information on The Wanås Foundation

Collections (107)

West Collection

Key names in international art meet new voices

Rubell Museum

Curator Joey Lico teams up with artist Alexis Diaz to visit the mighty Rubell Museum in Miami

Vorres Museum

3 000 years of Greek history and postwar Greek art

Alexander Ramselaar Collection

A townhouse of young talent from Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and around the world

Quetzal Art Centre

Contemporary art on a winery in the picturesque Alentejo region

Sammlung Wemhöner

A spontaneous exhibition set up in the now empty ballroom, before opening in 2023 as the collection's new home

Museum Liaunig

Nuriel Molcho and Francesca Gavin travel out of Vienna to hillside Carinthia, to meet with Peter Liaunig

Stella Art Foundation

An exhibition space for contemporary Russian art

Frissiras Museum

3 500 contemporary figurative paintings

Arario Museum in Space

Wide-ranging collection of Korean and Western art by the country’s leading collector and gallerist

Fondazione Brodbeck

Contemporary art in a post-industrial complex—in the shadow of a volcano

Peyrassol—Parc de Sculptures

A sculpture park on a centuries-old vineyard in Provence

Alexander Tutsek-Stiftung

A location for contemporary glass and photography

Colección de Arte Amalia Lacroze de Fortabat

Argentina's wealthiest woman presents six centuries of art-treasure collecting

Rossini Art Site (RAS)

Large-scale sculpture in a landscape park

Castello di Ama per l’Arte Contemporanea

Site-specific installations for a dual passion: art and wine

Kasteel Wijlre Estate

Art from the 1960s to the present in a modern pavilion

Fundació Vila Casas

Three buildings, three points of focus: painting, sculpture and photography

Gibbs Farm

A sculpture park in XXL format with monumental art in the grandness of nature

Kloster Schoenthal

Nature-inspired sculptures in a pristine landscape

Pinchuk Art Centre

Blue-chip contemporary in the first private museum in the former USSR

Museo James Turrell — The Hess Art Collection, Colomé

Turrell’s largest Skyspace and additional light rooms in breathtaking surroundings


An extensive private collection of Swiss contemporary art of the last fifty years

Mathaf—Arab Museum of Modern Art

A Royal Collection Spanning 200 Years of Arab Art – Doha, Qatar

Sara Piccinini

Senior Coordinator, Collezione Maramotti - Reggio Emilia, Italy

Reflection and Speculation

Sammlung von Kelterborn – Frankfurt, Germany


DJ Cassy and Francesca Gavin meet with collectors Venke and Rolf A. Hoff in Henningsvær, Norway

Deichtorhallen Hamburg – Sammlung Falckenberg

Positions of social criticism in German and American contemporary art – Hamburg, Germany

The Walther Collection

Inside and Outside the Frame – Neu Ulm, Germany

Peter Ibsen Collection

Minimalist Works That Hone Your Sense for Detail – Copenhagen, Denmark

Initiating Dialogues

Sammlung Hoffmann – Berlin, Germany

The Mallin Collection & Buckhorn Sculpture Park

Andrea Denver and Francesca Gavin meet with collectors Sherry and Joel Mallin in Upstate New York

The Agah Uğur Collection

One of the Largest Video Art Collections in Istanbul, Turkey

KA Modern and Contemporary Art Space

900 Square Meters Dedicated to Lebanon’s Most Significant Artists – Beirut, Lebanon

Art About Beauty and Infirmity

Collezione De Iorio – Trento, Italy

Living Collection

Gary Yeh and Francesca Gavin meet with architect and collector William Lim in Hong Kong

Early Passions

Z Collection – Hong Kong, China

Infinite Interiors

Philara Collection – Dusseldorf, Germany

Papko Art Collection

Works of Turkish Modernism at the legendary Ralli Apartment in Istanbul

Risky Business

Astrup Fearnley Museet – Oslo, Norway

Something Special, Something Sacred

The Goss-Michael Foundation – Dallas, United States of America

JAHM – Justin Art House Museum

Digital and Abstract Art — Melbourne, Australia

A More Democratic Art

MACBA – Museum of Contemporary Art of Buenos Aires, Argentina

Embracing the Accidental

Trajković Collection – Belgrade, Serbia

Galila's P.O.C.

A Collection Made up of Thematic Collections – Brussels, Belgium

Establishing Roots and Creating Links

The Ovidiu Șandor Collection – Timișoara, Romania

Instituto Figueiredo Ferraz

Abstract painting and concept art in Brazil’s interior – São Paulo

Conversation Pieces

KUNSTSAELE Berlin – Berlin, Germany

Magazzino Italian Art

Contemporary Italian Art on the Hudson River – New York

Slow Learning

de la Cruz Collection – Miami, United States of America

Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa

A venue for contemporary African art – Cape Town

The Elliott Eyes Collection

Engaging With the Collectors – Sydney

Foundation Francès

A French roadtrip reaching the radical reflections of artist Kader Attia

The Sublime Hyacinth Collection

Czech Art Meets Czech Design – Prague, Czech Republic

Marciano Art Foundation

Contemporary art at the Masonic temple – Los Angeles

Time Stamps

Julia Stoschek Collection – Berlin, Germany

Generative Grammars

Servais Family Collection – Brussels, Belgium

Chasing the Future

dslcollection – Paris, France

Charged Atmospheres

Transformer Station – Cleveland, United States of America

Places in, and out of, Time

Adrastus Collection – Arévalo, Spain

Eloquent Silences

The Givon Art Forum – Tel Aviv, Israel

Counting to Ten

Ten Cubed – Melbourne, Australia

Dispersing Narratives

The Wedge Collection – Toronto, Canada

Dialogues in Nature

Chatsworth – Bakewell, Great Britain

Present Pasts

The Feuerle Collection – Berlin, Germany

Space for the Future

The Vanhaerents Art Collection – Brussels, Belgium

Colección Contemporánea

A Global Collection from a Seasoned Art Collector In Mexico City

Adrastus Collection

A Collection That Shows the Diversity of Art in the Age of Globalization – Arevalo, Spain

Masters and Romantics

Collection Lambert – Avignon, France

Fondazione Rolla

A Collection of Modern and Contemporary Photography in Ticino

Finnish Rhapsody

Didrichsen Art Museum – Helsinki, Finland

Cranford Collection

One of Europe’s Most Important Collections with Renowned Contemporaries in Regent’s Park – London

Broad Minded

Artist Tomasz Kobialka on The Broad – Los Angeles, USA

Jean-Paul Najar Foundation

European-American Post-Minimalist Art in a Bauhaus-inspired building – Dubai

AMC Collezione Coppola

A Curious Collector Acquiring Art to Broaden his Understanding of the World

A Home for Light and Color

MALBA – Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires

Newport Street Gallery

Damien Hirst’s ‘Murderme’ Collection finds a permanent home – London

Franks Suss Collection

A Duo Investing in Artists and Not Cashing In – Hong Kong, London and Sydney

Mallin Collection & Buckhorn Sculpture Park

A Magic Sculpture Garden in Westchester County – Pound Ridge, New York

Shine On

Wurlitzer – Berlin-Pied-à-Terre Collection – Berlin, Germany

Houghton Hall – King's Lynn

Lavish 18th Century interiors juxtaposed with contemporary outdoor sculpture

Venet Foundation

An Artist’s Take on Collecting in the South of France

G2 Kunsthalle

Large-scale paintings of the New Leipzig School in dialogue

The Immaculate Collection

Igal Ahouvi Art Collection – Tel Aviv, Israel


The best of Chinese contemporary art, available 24/7/365

Thoma Foundation

Two intimate art spaces in Chicago and Santa Fe encourage dialogue between work and viewer

Lyon Housemuseum

Located near Melbourne, Australia, collector Corbett Lyon designed the Housemuseum to share it with the public

Follow The Yellow Brick Road

Inhotim – Instituto de Arte Contemporânea e Jardim Botânico

Portraiture Confronting a Land’s Traumatic Past

The Walther Collection – Project Space New York – New York City

Conceptual Authenticity

Sammlung Barbara und Axel Haubrok - haubrok projects - Berlin, Germany

A Self-taught Collector

Vass Collection - Veszprém, Hungary

Roots in Rotterdam

Concordia Collection - Rotterdam, Netherlands

Louvre goes Lens – and Pinault follows

How France’s most established museum and collector are redeveloping forgotten places

History Reinvented

Insights into the influential collection of Martin Parr

A Collection Which Never Sleeps

David Roberts Art Foundation – Great Britain, London

Get Lucky

David Walsh and his MONA

An Eye into a Secret World

SIP Shpilman Institute for Photography – Tel Aviv, Israel

Gifts for Philadelphia

Private collectors with a generous heart

A New Home for Miami’s Art Scene

On the opening of the Jorge M. Pérez Museum

Prima Materia at Punta Della Dogana

François Pinault Foundation - Venice, Italy

Eric and Jean Cass Collection

A private collection goes public

Bernardo Paz’s Transformative Museum

A closer look at Inhotim in Brazil

The Open Road to Jupiter

Robert & Nicky Wilson - Jupiter Artland

Collecting with an Impact

Dakis Joannou - Deste Foundation for Contemporary Art

Menil Collection Makeover

Starting with the parking lot

White Rabbit Collection

Chinese Contemporary Art – Australia, Sydney