Gallery Durchgang – Basel, Switzerland
Martin Steppacher and two of his four daughters run the 200-meter-square project space Galerie Durchgang in the middle of Basel.
Tell us about the history and concept of your collection.
It all started with the organization of Give Kids a break and charity artist Steve Alan Kaufman and his organization for children with difficult backgrounds. What does it mean to be and work in a collective? Not to work for someone in particular, but to work for the group. My personal connection to Steve Kaufman is not only that we were born in the same year, we also share a simple but deep concern. We want to support artists. With the project Raum Durchgang I give a platform which makes this possible.
The organization give kids a break, by Steve Alan Kaufman belongs to the heart of my collection. I also own many of Steve's originals, but that was the beginning of my interest in collectives or those that are becoming collectives. Like the workshop we did last year with the kids from the Vogelsang School in the neighborhood to do a big painting together. The children could then come to us in the „Durchgang“ and marvel at their work. Or the young collective Schleuse from Basel, which shot a live film in the „Durchgang“, where everyone could be the protagonist.
My collection consists not only of sculptures, objects and paintings, but also of encounters, musk, sound, impressions of events, performances, such as from the collective Studio Huette from Berlin, which temporarily incorporated a Berlin late-night shop into the gallery during Art Basel, bringing an unforgettable summer to Petersplatz.
Does your collection focus on specific artists?
I'm interested in the artists' fascination with a cause, with a story, mostly paintings, but I don't want to exclude any medium. By giving us access to their art, the artist's work becomes interesting to me, and so it might enter my collection. It is similar to music, when the voice of the musician or the instrument touches me.
Is there a specific concept for the collection, or do you tend to let yourself go with the flow?
All these things above are part of my collection. Also sitting in front of my gallery with a good glass of wine. I do not have a concept for my collection, I share my passion with my family and thus enable to have and constantly expand a collection that is not only from me, but also tells from different views and opinions. Just as a collection should be, in my opinion.
How do you make sure not to fall for trend-traps when collecting art?
Buy what you like. If you think about trend traps, you already think too much about what other people might like, then you probably already bought some traps.