BMW Art Guide by Independent Collectors

Herbert Gerisch

Herbert-Gerisch-Stiftung - Neumünster, Germany

Exhibition view of Yinka Shonibare, Adam and Eve, 2014 (courtesy by the artist, BlainISouthern, Berlin and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London)
Exhibition view of Yinka Shonibare, Adam and Eve, 2014 (courtesy by the artist, BlainISouthern, Berlin and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London)

Why do you collect?

My commitment to art has less to do with a private passion for collecting and more with an absolute desire to show our visitors, who come from far and wide, a wide range of top-quality international works of art in the sculpture park.

What was the first piece of artwork you purchased, and when was this?

After having supported regional artists from Schleswig-Holstein for many years as Chairman of the Board of BIG Bau Investitionsgesellschaft in Kiel, I decided to set up our foundation to collect works by international artists. The first sculpture was "Kissing Birds" by the Israeli artist Menashe Kadishman and the foundation logo still contains a detail from it. We acquired it in the first year of our foundation, 2001, and installed it in a central position in our garden, which was still private then. It still gives me great pleasure every day when I look at it in what is now the Gerisch-Stiftung sculpture park from our living room.

Exhibition view: Yehudit Sasportas, 2010/11
Exhibition view: Yehudit Sasportas, 2010/11
Additional space for the exhibition “Back to Earth”: glasshouses by Roger Bundschuh with works by Tony Cragg and Richard Deacon – © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017
Additional space for the exhibition “Back to Earth”: glasshouses by Roger Bundschuh with works by Tony Cragg and Richard Deacon – © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017

Who are the artists you are currently following?

Those artists who have a special ability to reflect the soul of this foundation, for example Olaf Nicolai, who created a glass wall as a sculpture along the entirety of one side of the property for the opening of our sculpture park. The artists we follow with particular enthusiasm are the artists we are currently showing in our exhibitions. For example, at the moment this is Yinka Shonibare, a Nigerian artist who lives in London. We are currently showing his first exhibition in Germany until the end of October.

Does your collection follow a concept or a specific theme?

Our foundation consists of three very different elements that make up a unique ensemble: a historic, listed Art Nouveau house, a listed country house garden designed by the leading Lübeck landscape garden designer Harry Maasz in 1924 and our private house, which was built in the 1960s and has been partially converted into a gallery. These three elements, set in the three hectare park with its wonderful collection of old trees, come together to create a delightful, idyllic whole. For this reason, whenever we acquire new sculptures, it is essential that they match the ambience in the park perfectly. We first invite the artists to visit the park and become thoroughly familiar with the foundation before they develop their ideas for us. This special site-specific quality and the patent intensity of the artists’ engagement with the site and the questions raised by the site are also particularly appreciated by our visitors.

Glasshouses with works by Andreas Schulze and Leiko Ikemura – © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017
Glasshouses with works by Andreas Schulze and Leiko Ikemura – © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017
Exhibition view: Yinka Shonibare, Windsculpture, 2014 (Courtesy the artist, Gerisch-Stiftung, Stephen Friedman Gallery, London)
Exhibition view: Yinka Shonibare, Windsculpture, 2014 (Courtesy the artist, Gerisch-Stiftung, Stephen Friedman Gallery, London)

Why did you decide to make your collection publicly accessible?

This was the basic idea of my foundation. In a region such as Schleswig-Holstein, which is not blessed with as many cultural institutions as other more sophisticated regions of Germany, it was very important to me to make the art that moves me so much in private publicly accessible. Cultural education is an essential component of our country. Therefore, it is especially important for the art shown here to be accessible to as broad a spectrum of society as possible. The attractive interplay of the garden, the historical architecture and the contemporary art provides optimum conditions for this.

Do you have a personal relationship with the artist you collect?

One of the high points of our activities for me is always when the artists come to install their exhibitions or visit us in Neumünster to create their works and then usually also stay in our guest house on site. This always results in very intensive, personal interaction and I enjoy this very much. On many occasions we have subsequently also visited the artists themselves. For example, soon after setting up the foundation, we visited Magdalena Abakanowicz in her studio in Warsaw. A year after his solo exhibition at our foundation, we met the artist Romuald Hazoumè, who lives in Benin, when he held an exhibition in New York, and on a trip through Israel we visited Yehudit Sasportas, who had previously showed a wonderful exhibition at our foundation.

Sculpture parc of the Gerisch-Stiftung with a sculpture by Magdalena Abakanovicz, Schreitende, 2004
Sculpture parc of the Gerisch-Stiftung with a sculpture by Magdalena Abakanovicz, Schreitende, 2004
Sculpture parc of the Gerisch-Stiftung with a mirror installation by Brigitte Kowanz, Eidyllion, 2010 – © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017
Sculpture parc of the Gerisch-Stiftung with a mirror installation by Brigitte Kowanz, Eidyllion, 2010 – © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017
Sculpture parc of the Gerisch-Stiftung with a sculpture by Menashe Kadishman, Kissing Birds, 1999/2000
Sculpture parc of the Gerisch-Stiftung with a sculpture by Menashe Kadishman, Kissing Birds, 1999/2000

Which publicly accessible private collection would you recommend visiting?

One of the collections my wife and I like most is the Guggenheim Foundation in Venice. We visit it every time we travel to the Venice Biennale. Another recommendation is Giuliano Gori’s wonderful sculpture park in Villa Celle near Florence. Unfortunately, public access is restricted but we loved the park on a private visit to Guiliano and his wife many years ago.

All images via Herbert-Gerisch-Stiftung, all photos by Marianne Obst, works of Yinka Shonibare: copyrights are mentioned in the images

More Information on Herbert-Gerisch-Stiftung

Collectors (56)

Maurizio Morra Greco

Fondazione Morra Greco, Naples, Italy

Qiao Zhibing

TANK Shanghai and Qiao Space - Shanghai, China

Jochen Zeitz

Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) - Cape Town, Africa

Dominique & Sylvain Levy

DSLCollection – Paris, France

Andrea von Goetz

Sammlung Blankenburg – Hamburg, Germany

Michael Buxton

Buxton Contemporary - Melbourne, Australia

Anastasios A. Gkekas

The Office Collection - Nicosia, Cyprus

Christine and Andrew Hall

Hall Art Foundation - Reading, USA & Derneburg, Germany

João Carlos de Figueiredo Ferraz

Instituto Figueiredo Ferraz (IFF) - São Paulo, Brazil

Anita Zabludowicz

Zabludowicz Collection – London, United Kingdom

Gordon Elliott

The Elliott Eyes Collection - Sydney, Australia

Seth Stolbun

The Stolbun Collection – Houston, USA

Christian & Karen Boros

Sammlung Boros – Berlin, Germany

Maria Didrichsen

Didrichsen Art Museum – Helsinki, Finland

Timo Miettinen

Salon Dahlmann – Berlin, Germany

Marli Hoppe-Ritter

Sammlung Marli Hoppe-Ritter – Waldenbuch, Germany

Désiré Feuerle

The Feuerle Collection – Berlin, Germany

Noemi Givon

Givon Art Forum – Tel Aviv, Israel

The Vague Space

Christian Kaspar Schwarm on the first solo presentation of his collection at the Weserburg Bremen

Gudrun & Bernd Wurlitzer

Wurlitzer Pied A Terre Collection – Berlin, Germany

Corbett Lyon

Lyon Housemuseum – Melbourne, Australia

Geert Verbeke-Lens

Verbeke Foundation – Kemzeke, Belgium

László Vass

Vass Collection – Veszprém, Hungary

Daisuke Miyatsu

Dream House – Ichikawa, Japan

Samara Walbohm & Joe Shlesinger

Scrap Metal Gallery – Toronto, Canada

Charles Riva

Charles Riva Collection – Brussels, Belgium

Venke & Rolf Hoff

KaviarFactory – Lofoten, Norway

Alain Servais

Servais Family Collection – Brussels, Belgium

Ivo Wessel

Sammlung Ivo Wessel - Berlin, Germany

Ramin Salsali

Salsali Private Museum – Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Vittorio Gaddi

Collezione Nunzia e Vittorio Gaddi – Lucca, Italy

Miguel Leal Rios

Fundação Leal Rios – Lisbon, Portugal

Julia Stoschek

Julia Stoschek Collection – Dusseldorf, Germany

Gertraud and Dieter Bogner

Kunstraum Buchberg – Gars am Kamp, Austria

Bob Rennie

Rennie Collection at Wing Sang – Vancouver, Canada

Heiner Wemhöner

Sammlung Wemhöner – Herford, Germany

Lin Han

M WOODS – Beijing, China

Kenny Goss

The Goss-Michael Foundation – Dallas, USA

Karsten Schmitz

Arbeitswohnung Federkiel – Leipzig, Germany

Devon Dikeou

The Dikeou Collection - Denver, USA

Thomas Olbricht

ME Collectors Room Berlin/Stiftung Olbricht – Berlin, Germany

Mera & Donald Rubell

Rubell Family Collection – Miami, USA

Pétur Arason

Safn – Berlin, Germany / Reykjavík, Iceland

Steffen Hildebrand

G2 Kunsthalle – Leipzig, Germany

Rafaela Seppälä

RKF Collection – Helsinki, Finland

Frédéric de Goldschmidt

Frédéric de Goldschmidt – Brussels, Belgium

Daniel Teo

The Private Museum – Singapore, Singapore

Claudio Cosma

Sensus – Luoghi per l’arte Contemporanea – Florence, Italy

Michał Borowik

Michał Borowik Collection – Warsaw, Poland

José Berardo

Museu Coleção Berardo – Lisbon, Portugal

Bärbel Grässlin and Karola Kraus

Sammlung Grässlin - St. Georgen, Germany

Joëlle and Eric Romba

Rocca Stiftung – Berlin, Germany

Myriam and Amaury de Solages

Maison Particulière – Brussels, Belgium

Friedrich Gräfling

Sammlung Fiede - Aschaffenburg, Germany

Benjamin Genocchio

Fair Director at The Armory Show