BMW Art Guide by Independent Collectors

Miguel Leal Rios

Fundação Leal Rios – Lisbon, Portugal

Portrait of Miguel Leal Rios. © Leal Rios Foundation
Portrait of Miguel Leal Rios. © Leal Rios Foundation

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

It was a rare drawing of the Portuguese painter Álvaro Lapa, from 1958. I purchased it in 2002. He is a very respectable and important painter in Portugal but totally unknown in the international community of art.

Vasco Araújo, ’Sabine/Brunilde’, 2003. © Vasco Araújo and Leal Rios Foundation. Courtesy the artist and Galeria Filomena Soares
Vasco Araújo, ’Sabine/Brunilde’, 2003. © Vasco Araújo and Leal Rios Foundation. Courtesy the artist and Galeria Filomena Soares
Dias & Riedweg, ’Paraíso Cansado’, 2009. © Dias & Riedweg and Leal Rios Foundation. Courtesy the artist and Galeria Filomena Soares
Dias & Riedweg, ’Paraíso Cansado’, 2009. © Dias & Riedweg and Leal Rios Foundation. Courtesy the artist and Galeria Filomena Soares
Adelina Lopes, ’Untitled’, 2010. © Adelina Lopes and Leal Rios Foundation.Courtesy the artist and Appleton Square
Adelina Lopes, ’Untitled’, 2010. © Adelina Lopes and Leal Rios Foundation.Courtesy the artist and Appleton Square

Why do you collect?

Maybe Freud explains it better than me, but in my opinion collecting is a kind of obsession that becomes a responsibility. I think artists can be visionaries and collecting maybe is another way to show the contemporary world in a more systematic order through others visions, senses and reflections – the artist perception I mean.

Does your collection follow a concept or a specific theme?

At the beginning of purchasing art, my brother Manuel and I often used to buy with a certain spontaneity and intuitively guided by personal references. But after a certain time there was this need to focus, and I focused on my interests. My interests were on architecture, or space, on the relation between body and object, consciousness and matter. So today, I can say the criteria base for the construction of our collection is to try to identify and understand the artistic practice of "installation". I seek, therefore, to emphasize the contributions of this artistic production segment for a contemporary debate on "spatiality" of the artwork and its relationship with the processes of organization and occupation in the exhibition space. Artworks under the notion of "installation", "in situ" or "intervention" may have similarities in the way they operate with the exhibition space. The viewer is confronted with an "installation" or a "specific site" can interpret it accordingly to the recognition that he/she makes of the artistic practice and feel through a pluralistic approach that points to architectural aspects. This can be done through the space where an artwork can be shown, the relation of the artistic practice with the space, "site specific" and spatiality, installation vs. architecture. Thinking that an installation may consist of a set of different media in order to transcend itself, there is the need and the particular interest to add to the collection other media, such as video. Moving image, sound pieces and documentary video are now some of my main points of interest. As a strategy, we don’t collect only one artwork of an artist, but rather acquire the nuclei of key pieces in order to follow the artist’s work.

Max Frey, ’Rotor d220’, 2009. Exhibition view of "As The Earth Spins Beneath The Stars" at Leal Rios Foundation, 2015. © Max Frey and Leal Rios Foundation. Photo: João Biscainho – © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017
Max Frey, ’Rotor d220’, 2009. Exhibition view of "As The Earth Spins Beneath The Stars" at Leal Rios Foundation, 2015. © Max Frey and Leal Rios Foundation. Photo: João Biscainho – © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017
Matt Mullican, ’Untitled (Learning from That Person’s Work: Room Number 4)’, 2005. Installation view at Arsenale, 56th Venice Bienale 2013. © Matt Mullican and Leal Rios Foundation. Photo: Francesco Allegretto
Matt Mullican, ’Untitled (Learning from That Person’s Work: Room Number 4)’, 2005. Installation view at Arsenale, 56th Venice Bienale 2013. © Matt Mullican and Leal Rios Foundation. Photo: Francesco Allegretto

Who are the artists you are currently following?

I am following several artists like Dénes Farkas, Reinhard Mucha, André Romão, Bernardo Ortiz, Tristan Perish, Sven Johne, Sarah Pichlkostner, Ignasi Aballí, Prem Sahib, Nidhal Chamekh, and a range of video artists.

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

For me it is very important to personally know the artists. I like to speak with them about their motivations, about their past and their future. Most of the works in our collection are by artists that I know personally and with whom I maintain a good relationship and some are good friends.

Luís Paulo Costa, ’See and See Not’, 2005/2006. Exhibition view of “ Luís Paulo Costa – Part One: One Another” at Leal Rios Foundation, 2015. © Luís Paulo Costa and Leal Rios Foundation. Photo: João Biscainho
Luís Paulo Costa, ’See and See Not’, 2005/2006. Exhibition view of “ Luís Paulo Costa – Part One: One Another” at Leal Rios Foundation, 2015. © Luís Paulo Costa and Leal Rios Foundation. Photo: João Biscainho
Exhibition view of “Helena Almeida – Transubstantiation” at Leal Rios Foundation, 2015. © Helena Almeida and Leal Rios Foundation. Photo: João Biscainho
Exhibition view of “Helena Almeida – Transubstantiation” at Leal Rios Foundation, 2015. © Helena Almeida and Leal Rios Foundation. Photo: João Biscainho
Exhibition view of “Helena Almeida – Transubstantiation” at Leal Rios Foundation, 2015. © Helena Almeida and Leal Rios Foundation. Photo: João Biscainho
Exhibition view of “Helena Almeida – Transubstantiation” at Leal Rios Foundation, 2015. © Helena Almeida and Leal Rios Foundation. Photo: João Biscainho
Exhibition view of “ Becky Beasley -The Man Nobody Could Lift” at Leal Rios Foundation, 2012. © Becky Beasley and Leal Rios Foundation. Photo: Pedro Tropa and Teresa Santos
Exhibition view of “ Becky Beasley -The Man Nobody Could Lift” at Leal Rios Foundation, 2012. © Becky Beasley and Leal Rios Foundation. Photo: Pedro Tropa and Teresa Santos

Why did you decide to make your collection publicly accessible?

I think it is unfair with any artist to keep his or her work closed in a warehouse. In my opinion we collectors have a responsibility with the artists from the day we start to purchase their work. At the end we have a certain power on defining what to do with a work of art and establish the end of it. But art is also made to communicate, and thus to be enjoyed.

After years of collecting my brother and I decided to institutionalize our art collection with the goal to share it with the public. That’s why we open the Leal Rios Foundation – an exhibition space that also includes a video room, with a week schedule to allow anyone interested to come and see the work of the artists we collect and the work we are doing as collectors. As a strategy I want to internationalize our collection, and so we are developing international protocols with other private institutions in order to show our collection abroad. The first step was made in 2015 with our presence at the LOOP Festival in Barcelona, with the “Writing Diffraction” exhibition. “Writing Diffraction” comprised works from the Leal Rios Foundation collection that focused on the poetics of perception, utilizing near-scientific methodologies to ascribe form to inherently immaterial phenomena. On the other hand we lend works to other institutions and exhibitions. It is another way of showing our artworks and our collection. Since we founded the Leal Rios Foundation four years ago we have lent 56 artworks to 28 different exhibitions worldwide.

Which publicly accessible private collection would you recommend visiting?

I love the collection and program of the Dia Art Foundation and I also recommend a visit to Berardo Collection, in Lisbon.

All images courtesy Leal Rios Foundation, Lisbon

Exhibition view of "As The Earth Spins Beneath The Stars" at Leal Rios Foundation, 2015. © the artists and Leal Rios Foundation. Photo: João Biscainho
Exhibition view of "As The Earth Spins Beneath The Stars" at Leal Rios Foundation, 2015. © the artists and Leal Rios Foundation. Photo: João Biscainho

More Information on Leal Rios Foundation

Collectors (57)

Christen Sveaas

Kistefos Museet, Jevnaker, Norway

Maurizio Morra Greco

Fondazione Morra Greco, Naples, Italy

Noemi Givon

Givon Art Forum – Tel Aviv, Israel

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

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

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

Herbert Gerisch

Herbert-Gerisch-Stiftung - Neumünster, Germany

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