Independent Collectors

Lapo Simeoni

Collectors who have a special bond with Berlin.

LAPO SIMEONI 1979 @laposimeoni
LAPO SIMEONI 1979 @laposimeoni

To celebrate another year of Gallery Weekend Berlin we speak to a selection of collectors who have a special bond with Berlin.

Focusing on the collecting scene of the city and the personal relationship between city and collector, we find out what makes this capital not just a special place for its artists and visitors, but for the collectors too.

We speak to IC Collector Lapo Simeoni about why he moved to Berlin, how the transformation of the city is a positive, and why you should always look to the future in this city.

Tell us about your connection to Berlin. How did it all begin?

My relationship with Berlin dates from a series of important events in my life. After developing as an artist and curator in the 90’s, I began “spraying” and soon after that began collecting, what would now be known as “Street Art”.

From 2000-2002 I studied at Central Saint Martins in London and opened in 2004 Art.Lab Gallery, a contemporary independent space focused on searching for emerging artists. Then in 2009 I realized an exhibition in Basel, (“7 Italian Vision”) in an underground vault of 250 square-meters during the days of Art Basel. The exhibition was a great success, creating contacts with gallery owners, artists and museum directors. From there on I started to collaborate as an artist with Henk Pijnenburg, a Dutch collector and art dealer with whom I worked a lot in Germany and Holland.

After the loss of my father, Angelo Quattrocchi, a writer and journalist of the Beat Generation and counterculture of the sixties, I decided to move to a European city which could be the basis to travel everywhere. Berlin was the city most suitable for me and my life, a unique city full of vitality and contradictions that put you inevitably in relation with history and society. So I moved here in 2012 and still find it very interesting and full of energy to this day.

What is the collecting scene like in Berlin?

The city is changing very quickly and the art system in my opinion is complex. From what I have observed in recent years in this city, I can say that the interest and attention of collectors is remarkable.There are still many artists who come to live here, despite the radical changes of the city.

This city carries an energy and therefore an international appeal to collectors. Social dynamics are fast but exchanges with people often are reflective and help to a greater understanding of art. Having such a large pool of galleries, artists etc. and a constant transformation of the city as a whole leads to increased attention and knowledge to the choice of a work.

Berlin is a city where it’s hard to choose and easy to miss. For the quantity and variety of art that the city offers, it can be a driving force to better understand the personal motivations made when creating your collection.

AARON VAN ERP, Untitled, 2009. Courtesy the artist & The Simeoni Collection, Berlin
AARON VAN ERP, Untitled, 2009. Courtesy the artist & The Simeoni Collection, Berlin

Berlin is a city where it's hard to choose and easy to miss. For the quantity and variety of art that the city offers, it can be a driving force to better understand the personal motivations made when creating your collection.


SANDRO DEL PISTOIA, Pillow 02, 2013
SANDRO DEL PISTOIA, Pillow 02, 2013
NICOLA SAMORÌ, Palmo, 2011
NICOLA SAMORÌ, Palmo, 2011

As well as being a collector you are also an artist. Do you think this enables you to look at artworks in your collection in a different way?

Human instinct is diverse, each person has a predisposition to the imaginary and often this is reflected in the collections. Personally, over time I developed an ever more methodological evaluation trying to find answers to the questions I ask myself such as; “why do you want this work?”, and “why collect it?”.

For me, to collect is an emotional development for which I live. My particular sensitivity of choice when purchasing a work is also influenced by personal motives as an artist in relation with other artists.

My research and study on consumerism and man’s evolutionary growth is also being reflected in what I collect. I am always looking for works that reflect a strong empathy with man’s history and its development, preferring works that interact with social issues or geopolitical or the human social involution/evolution.

Do you normally work directly with artists or do you go through Berlin galleries?

Being an artist/curator/collector and collaborating for a year even with the web magazine “FRISK FISK”, I always had this characteristic ambivalence that has led me to work and grow with the artists, galleries and the contemporary art system.

To better understand Berlin, it’s essential to go see the artists’ studios, the “off spaces” and the many great galleries to get a more complete view. Berlin in both aspects is incredible, you can find really powerful emerging artists who have not yet entered the official market and discover the important works at reasonable prices.

There are also many mid–career galleries where you can find artists who are going to have that international institutional launch. This city is nourished by contacts and even foreign relations and many galleries are international and participating in many art fairs around the world, bringing new and interesting artists or projects to the city. Berlin is a large single container where you can find, in my opinion, many of the most important artists and galleries who are original, and not yet known for just being “famous”. Berlin is a city where if you have eyes to the future, you can find infinity.

FRANCESCO IRNEM, Multilevel Time 4, 2010
FRANCESCO IRNEM, Multilevel Time 4, 2010

Berlin is a city where if you have eyes to the future, you can find infinity.


LUCA GRECHI, Femminile, 2016
LUCA GRECHI, Femminile, 2016

How have you seen the Berlin art scene change and where do you think it’s headed?

Berlin has had incredible growth over recent years, confirming itself as a portal on social transformation of Europe. The art has developed over the decades and in turn so has the Berlin art world.

As you already know, many areas that were famed for their ridiculously low cost artist studios have now become luxury buildings, often pushing out many galleries or studios to new locations. But despite these major changes, fortunately there is a great dynamism and growth within Berlin.

I genuinely find this transformation very exciting, although unfortunately it is losing a part of the “cool” culture, overtaken by globalization and making the city much more interested in the economic market.

There are many important new collections and galleries that are thrusting Berlin into the art world. Events like Gallery Weekend and Art Week with the abc art fair open the gates for and offer a freshness onto the scene.

Will you be attending Gallery Weekend Berlin this year (2016)? And if yes, do you have any tips for collectors as to where they should go?

This year, from my point of view, there really are a lot of important events to see and many artists. Some of the exhibitions that I’d like to see include Victor Man at Plan-b, Claire Fontaine at Galerie Neu, Oscar Murillo at Isabella Bortolozzi, Aleksandra Domanovic at Tanya Leighton Gallery, Harland Miller at Blain|Southern, Eduardo Basualdo at PSM, Jacob Dahlgren at Feldbuschwiesner and the group show at König Galerie.

Berlin (52)

You are the Concept

Private sessions with IC founder and strategist Christian Kaspar Schwarm.

Julia Stoschek

Sergej Timofejev in conversation with Julia Stoschek: one of the most active and famous collectors of time-based art.

Boros Bunker #4

This former techno-club has been home to the private collection and residence of Christian and Karen Boros.

haubrok projects

Lollie Barr meets collector Axel Haubrok in Lichtenberg

Wurlitzer Berlin-Pied-à-Terre Collection

Gudrun and Bernd Wurlitzer have created a space where artworks sit comfortably alongside signs of everyday life


Geraldine Michalke provides one of the most dynamic sites for aesthetic exchanges in Berlin

The Feuerle Collection

Désiré Feuerle has turned a site of isolation and paranoia into a place infused with humanity, lightness and sensuality

Ingrid & Thomas Jochheim

The collector couple describes the discovery process, which has led them to around 700 artworks to date, as emotional

ARNDT Collection

Tiffany Wood and Matthias Arndt aim to collect works that create disturbance

PRIOR Art Space

Oliver Elst and Laura del Arco have built significant collections, both individually and together

Elke and Arno Morenz Collection

A collection about seven postwar avant-garde movements

Collection Night

A new twilight initiative takes places in Berlin to bring private collections together in a special programme.

Warhol and Works on Paper

Editions and works on paper from The Dirk Lehr Collection.

Art is a Window – Christian Kaspar Schwarm

Una Meistere in conversation in Berlin with IC founder Christian Kaspar Schwarm.

Dirk Lehr Collection

A look inside the Berlin-based collection that refuses to follow trends.

Yvonne Roeb

Inside the studio of the artist with the unusual collection.

Christian Kaspar Schwarm “Young Collections”

Inside the constantly growing and unconventional collection of the IC co-founder.

The Vague Space

The continuously contouring art collection from Independent Collectors’ co-founder.

Boros Bunker #3

A look inside the belly of Berlin's most known World War II Bunker.

Gudrun & Bernd Wurlitzer

On the occasion of the sixth edition of Berlin Art Week, Gudrun and Bernd Wurlitzer will be opening up their home and private collection to the public.

Gudrun & Bernd Wurlitzer 2017

After the German reunion Gudrun and Bernd Wurlitzer witnessed the gallery scene in Berlin change dramatically.

me Collectors Room – Picha/Pictures

"Picha/Pictures – Between Nairobi & Berlin" at Berlin's me Collectors Room features artworks by Berlin-based artists and children that live in Kibera, East Africa’s largest slum.

How to Be Unique

An exploration of the interlacing of textual, structural, and lingual elements and painting with a special emphasis on their material manifestations.

Kuhn Collection

Offering a bright perspective of young contemporary art.

Archivio Conz x KW

Archivio Conz presents “Pause: Broken Sounds/Remote Music. Prepared pianos from the Archivio Conz collection” at the KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin.

Haus N Collection & ROCCA Stiftung

Two collections joined forces to create a unique cultural experience in an abandoned car dealership in Kiel, Germany.

Kuhn Collection I

This exhibition is the first in a series in which Michael Kuhn and Alexandra Rockelmann share works from the Kuhn Collection on IC.

Recording Memories

Mimi Kolaneci shares parts of his collection

Haus N Collection & Wemhöner Collection

ach, die sind ja heute so unpolitisch

STUDIO BERLIN – Boros Foundation x Berghain

We are here with insight into the seductive new Berlin happening, STUDIO BERLIN, with an interview with Karen Boros and Juliet Kothe, Artistic Directors of the project.

me Collectors Room Berlin/Stiftung Olbricht

My Abstract World

Haupt Collection

Dreissig Silberlinge

Désiré Feuerle

Publicly accessible private collection in an old bunker.

Timo Miettinen

Finnish collector talks about the impossibility of ignoring Berlin’s relevance in today’s art world.

Kai Bender

Collectors who have a special bond with Berlin.

Olaf Schirm

Collectors who have a special bond with Berlin.

From Sponsorship to Authorship

Creative workshops for brands who want to become great story-tellers.

Manfred Herrmann

The Berlin based tax consultant Manfred Herrmann and his wife art historian Burglind-Christin Schulze-Herrmann have been collecting contemporary art for the last 30 years.

me Collectors Room – Private Exposure

For the fifth time, the Olbricht Foundation has invited London Metropolitan University students from the ‘Curating the Contemporary’ Master’s program in collaboration with the Whitechapel Gallery, to curate and develop an exhibition with works from the extensive art collection of Thomas Olbricht.


From a very early age, Pétur Arason enjoyed visiting artists in their studios with his father. Today, Arason has built up his own collection spanning more than 1 200 works.

Cindy Sherman – Works from the Olbricht Collection

Arguably one of the most important photographers of the late 20th Century, Cindy Sherman is not just a master of disguise but also a master at captivating her audiences.

Gute Kunst? Wollen!

Born into a family of textile merchants that spans over four generations and a long tradition of passionate art collecting Thomas Rusche’s passion for collecting art started early, with his first purchase at the age of 14. Over the years that followed, his passion for collecting has grown into a vast accumulation of 17th century Old Masters, contemporary painting, and sculptures.

Frisch Collection

The Berlin based couple, Harald and Kornelia Frisch, have been collecting idiosyncratic painterly and sculptural positions from different artistic generations free from market-based aesthetics since the 1960s.

Slavs and Tatars: Friendship of Nations

An exhibition from the Berlin-based collector Christian Kaspar Schwarm, featuring work from the art collective, Slavs and Tatars.


Female Artists from the Olbricht Collection at me Collectors Room, Berlin.

Barbara Klemm: Photographs

A new exhibition from the Berlin collector Werner Driller.

I Have Nothing Against Women But…

A look inside the exhibition “I Have Nothing Against Women but Can’t You Ring at Another Person’s Door”

Collection Regard

En Passant

To the patrons of tomorrow

Laurie Rojas on the future of art patronage and how to nurture enthusiasm for good art, worldly sensibility, curiosity, and connoisseurship.

A Travel Companion to access private art

What started off as an ambitious task back in 2012 to gather a world-wide list of the most exciting art collections, resulted in unique book that would radically increase the accessibility of private art to the general public.

The Rediscovery of Wonder

»Good art is rarely simple, but it is hardly ever incomprehensible, « says Christian Kaspar Schwarm, IC founder and avid collector who has never lost his excitement for complexity.