Interview with Torsten Kunert
Sammlung Schloss Kummerow – Kummerow, Germany
How important is having the title of being a “collector” to you?
When I started to collect art some time ago, it wasn’t my plan to become an art collector. It basically happened over a longer period of time without intension. More important to me is the passion to discover new artworks and artists that fit into my collection.
Does your collection follow a specific theme or particular artists?
The collection at Schloss Kummerow is very much influenced by my own biography. There are contemporary photos by internationally renowned artists, though the centrepiece of my collection are works by photographers in former East Germany. Pictures that remind me of my life in the GDR. The common theme amongst all is the medium of photography catching the effect of time in people’s life and their fate. The traces of passing time and time itself form a consistent motif throughout the entire collection.
Do you have a personal relationship with the artists you collect?
Some artists I am only acquainted with, with others I have a closer relationship. It is always interesting to know the person behind the photograph, although it’s not necessary to know the artist to be fascinated by their art.
Is there an artwork that you love but can’t live with due to size, medium, or value?
There were a couple of large photographs too big to hang into a normal sized room. So, the Schloss Kummerow was the perfect solution due to its many and spacious chambers.
In your opinion, what mistakes do young collectors make? And what mistakes did you make when first starting on your collecting journey?
Amongst a couple of things, most of all there needs to be passion for the art you buy. Only to collect in order to speculate and make money will sooner or later not benefit the collection. Also, I believe, if a collector is too focused on specific artists, it narrows the horizon to discover other works. Looking back to the beginning of my collection, I would have collected not too many artworks of the same artist. Though for me it was more of an emotional journey rather than a rational choice.
What has the reaction been like from visitors of your collection since making it publicly accessible? Does this reaction impact you and what you collect?
The connection between the historic location and the collection creates a unique atmosphere and synergy for visitors. Some people come to see only the castle and some are at first just interested in the collection. It is the interplay of history and art that makes this place very special. And I believe the visitors appreciate all the efforts and are fascinated by their experience. Of course, such positive feedback makes me very happy. It motivates me to keep going forward with the renovation and encourages me to expand the collection with more high-quality art works.
Which publicly accessible private collection would you recommend visiting?
I would recommend the Sammlung Springmeier in Berlin. We have some artists in common such as Ulay and Marina Abramović.