Oliver Elst, German car designer and now expat of China, entered the world of art collecting just three years ago and has already established a very clear idea of his approach. His favourite medium is painting and specifically that of emerging and dynamic artists from Africa, where diaspora is a central term. His fascination with Africa, Elst recognised a huge potential aligned with what he feels to be a shift in the artworld “giving the continent the attention it deserves”. Contemporary African art has and is gaining a much larger value and presence internationally, facilitating an uninhibited movement to grow.
Oliver Elst has traveled to and explored around South Africa, developing a vibrant love of the continents arts and culture. He feels confident when it comes to selecting artworks and positions for his collection, armed with his professional background in the design industry and his university days of painting and nude drawing. He carefully selects works not as singular objects, but rather by envisaging a piece amongst his collection as whole, as if to “imagine you are the curator of a museum show”. Elst likes to consolidate his selections with further background research about the artist, combining his instinct with the critical.
On that note, Oliver Elst has a particular reasoning behind his collections name. The term “Cuperior” is a combination of the Latin word ‘cupere’ meaning ‘desire’ and ‘prior’ as in precursor. Drawing upon desire is exactly his feeling when selecting artists and finding masterpieces to build his collection. In supporting younger artists (alongside established positions), they may enter the Cuperior Collection just having completed their studies or following their first solo show. Elst wanted to clearly include his target and philosophy in the collections name, rather than a pure personal name.