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Unstructured, different, wild: Art collecting Martin Nielsen

An interview with maverick art collector Martin Nielsen

Unstructured, different, wild.” Is Danish art collector Martin Nielsen describing his burgeoning collection of eclectic, vibrant and brash works or his own successful method?

Collecting from a visceral sense of energy that fizzes with voodoo colour and controversy, Nielsen’s approach gives art an accessible edge where assaulted senses thrill the viewer. But where is the head and heart in these acquisitions? Looking at the pieces by Baselitz and Richter (amongst others) there is a depth of feeling in the works that alludes to progressive social or historical triggers. A wild need perhaps driven by a wider cause? Writing to Trebuchet Martin Nielsen discusses what fires his imagination.  

Tony Oursler Passion Candy, 1991
Tony Oursler, Passion Candy, 1991

It all started very basic, when I got a new house and I needed some “decoration” on the walls… But today I collect art because I want to understand the world and myself better. My favorite quote is “Art should comfort the disturbed, and disturb the comfortable!”

Tal R, 2, 1997
Tal R, 2, 1997

 Art forces me to see and think differently. I love it when art can set things in a new perspective. All my life I have been a collector and though I discovered art late in my life when art came to me it gave me a powerful boost. Today many of my relations and connections come from the art world.

Roger Ballen,Dracy & Casy, 1990.
Roger Ballen, Dracy & Casy, 1990.
Michael Sailstorfer 1:43-47, Salzburg, 2012 Aluminum, belt conveyor, hot air guns, controller, popcorn
Michael Sailstorfer 1:43-47, Salzburg, 2012 Aluminum, belt conveyor, hot air guns, controller, popcorn

My first piece was from the Danish artist Erik Bille Christiansen. I learned a lot from Erik, especially about how and what to look for in original works. My favorite work is from Michael Sailstorfer. A popcorn machine that brings the spectator way back in time, to when she or he was 6 years old, and visiting Tivoli or a circus for the first time with the parents, and there was this wonderful smell of popcorn.

Jeffrey Silverthorne Woman Who Died in Her Sleep, 1972

 I’m very active getting information about art from around the world. Right now due to Covid-19, I work mainly online with the galleries, exhibitions and Museums to get all relevant information. Normally I travel as much as I can to see Art live. For more than three years I have been following the South African artist Chris Soal and I have been in constant contact with his Gallery Montoro12 in Rome. However I was not able to “catch” the right work. Then two weeks ago I bought an important work from Chris. It makes me so happy and it proves that persistence pays off.  

Martin-Nielsen. Photo by René Schütze

I am proud of many of my works, but probably my work of Georg Baselitz. It took six or seven months to settle the agreement and I only managed to buy that work with tremendous help from Philipp Haverkampf (formerly CFA, now Haverkampf gallery Berlin)

Daniel Richter Bas, 2002

What artist are you looking at now?
Chris Soal, Faig Ahmed, Michael Sailstorfer, Andrew Orloski, Friedrich Kunath, Gregor Hildebrandt, Haegue Yang, Adam Parker Smith

…and if money was no object ?
George Baselitz, Daniel Richter and Hargue Yang- in that order!

Finally, who is your most important art ally and why? 
Georges Armaos from Gagosian Gallery. A very good friend; honest, super sharp, well-connected.

Thank you Martin Nielsen

Main image: Georg Baselitz, Meine gelbe periode I, 1997


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