© Miguel Soler-Roig Lighthouse El Morro, Havana, 2011
The exhibition Look, Feel, Collect brings three artists together: Joaquim Paiva, Miguel Soler-Roig and Toni Catany. They are both artists and collectors who have built their own vision of the world through their own eyes and though the eyes of the others. They have chosen to recognize and be recognized as the creators of artworks that inspire.
The act of collecting begins with looking, with the ability to discover qualities before our eyes. Looking means to look within, to pay attention, to ask yourself about what you see. This reflexive exercise involves a choice and hides an attraction, followed by the desire to possess what we admire. However, the appropriation of the desired object does not have to result in actually acquiring it. We can silence our longing for possessing by collecting pictures, notes or just memories that help us get an idea about who we are. We are all collectors to a degree. Each item in our personal collection shows a small part of our identity and discloses information about particular moments in our lives, as the collection is a real creation in itself - a cosmogony of our personality and individual path.
© Miguel Soler-Roig
If we look at these first observations one could say that there are practices that capture the essence of collecting. The artists, for example, generate their own repertoire of artworks where they expect to reflect, aesthetically and conceptually, fragments of their own being and the way they see the world around. In order to complete the task of creation, the artwork must become a mirror in which other people can also recognise themselves, especially the art collectors. The person who everybody recognizes as the collector is one who experiences an uncontrollable desire to own an artwork.
Although the quality of real collectors is his passion we cannot forget a second attribute that gives us the key to a wider characterization - their intuition. When a collector buys a work of art he doesn’t do it just because of an aesthetic or emotional pleasure, he also analyses and questions whether he is truly acquiring a quality piece of art and whether the artist has a clear professional direction. That is to say, he also seeks the approval and recognition of the public for having discovered a new talent. Sometimes the collector is driven by his instinct whilst other times he makes logical decisions that rest on the solid foundation of knowledge, information and experience in the current art market. At a higher level, when the collector becomes a Patron of the Arts he has an acute sense of responsibility for his acquisition and he assures that the artists he follows are respected.
Nerea Ubieto, Exhibition Curator
© Joaquim Paiva
The relationship with photography of the Brazilian artist, Joaquim Paiva, is on a multilevel. He is a photographer as well as artist, collector, and art mentor. His passion emerged in response to the need to retain snap shots of memories and real life images. Paiva autobiographical works are always connected to relationships, the cities he used to live in, and his love of beauty, art and nature. His expression is deliberately personal and emotional, linked to human experience and cold logic. His first collecting approach begun with the works of Miguel Rio Branco. Since then collecting became inseparable part of his life. He was convinced that there is not only reportage in Brazil, but also vigorously creative, experimental and artistic photography. He succeeded in promoting the work of Brazilian photographers beyond the boundaries of the country and creating the most specialized collection of Brazilian artist in the world.
Miguel Soler-Roig grew up in Spain surrounded by art, living among his family´s collection. As a student at the School of Art in Basel, Switzerland he cultivated a sharper vision towards life thanks to his continuous visits to museums, exhibitions, artist studios and art fairs. Later on,during his higher education at Rhode Island School of Design in Providence (USA) and at the beginning of his career in New York, he enhanced his enthusiasm and beliefs in art as an inner necessity. Today as an artist, photography is his main subject, weaving natural instincts and deeper feelings.He lives all the moments while taking photographs, but as he himself confirms, sometimes portrays what he wants to live.Furthermore, as a private art fund manager he follows the latest creations in contemporary art, and as a keen collector he continues building up his family collection.
For the Spanish National Photography Prize winner, Toni Catany, first and foremost to photograph means to manifest himself through images. This way of expression, he adopted as a child, shows his innermost feelings the most. His interest incollectingstarted by exchanging his own photographs for the works of other photographers. Later he was offered to create the International Centre of Photography in Mallorca and this is when he started to collect for real. His collection consists of artworks of remarkable artists like: Stieglitz, Man Ray, Graciela Iturbide, Paul Strand, Masao Yamamoto, Joel Peter Witkin, Humberto Rivas or Cristina Garcia Rodero. However, the artist's recognition is not an essential argument in his collection of photographic artworks. He explains, "There are many photos I would buy that are not necessarily the most expensive ones on the market. There are some wonderful anonymous art pieces too."
© Toni Catany
Vignette © Miguel Soler-Roig
Photos © Miguel Soler-Roig © Joaquim Paiva © Toni Catany