Together with collector and photographer Wilhelm Schürmann we have started the new On-Site category “Inside Sailing”, which brings you fresh photographs from the art world on a regular basis
Mr. Schürmann, we are happy to have you as an IC contributor since you are both a photographer and a collector of contemporary art. How did your passion for photography and collecting begin?
When I was a young teenager I bought my first camera. I have always been interested in photography, constantly seeing the world in images. Until today, I take my camera wherever I go.
As a photographer I am naturally interested in historic photography, which is why I founded a Gallery for classic and modern photography with my friend Rudolf Kicken in Aachen. In 1978 I left the gallery because I did not really want to sell the photographs but wanted to collect them instead. This was when I realized that I began to develop a strong passion for collecting.
For Independent Collectors you started “inside sailing” a photo series about the art world, which you have been photographing for a long time now. What made you start taking photos at exhibitions and art events?
The reason I take photos in galleries and generally within an art world context is that I am visiting a lot of exhibitions. Seeing art is my primary reason for going there in the first place. But of course I have my camera with me, as I always do, and take photos of artworks for myself. You may think of it as a visual personal notebook I keep, so I can document and remember everything I found interesting.
The process involved in photographing art is something that interests me. I often ask myself: Is my view on art biased? Do I see art through the eyes of a photographer? Or do I see the world with the eyes of an art enthusiast? Of course it is impossible to differentiate what influences what. It is a chicken and egg dilemma.
As for the art world photographs I take: when I am at an exhibition I naturally also see people who look at artworks. When I observe these people, they often seem perfectly staged to me, so I take a picture. Sometimes I like to add a title with a hidden hint or twist to go along with these images. When I take a photo of Kasper König looking at a video installation at KOW’s gallery stand and name it “Kasper König, ABC”, then this title is not only mentioning the place of an art fair.
As a photographer you are automatically a collector. A collector of images.
“Inside Sailing” not only contains photographs of the art world but also photos of every day situations. Why is that?
If I would only show images of art or people looking at art the posts would soon seem monotonous and tiring. All images are part of a whole series in which the sequence is of great importance. They are like a stack of photographs lying on top of each other and I like that due to the website’s layout the image flow is organized vertically.
The interesting thing about the sequence of these images is that they visually document the tours I take walking from one place to the next. On my way from one gallery to another I often walk down the same paths and pass the same places again and again, such as the Lustgarten in front of the Berliner Dome. There I took the pictures of the Turkish wedding and the one of the boy taking a photo of his girlfriend. I often see the way people stage themselves in front of a camera. It looks very professional. People like to construct an image of their private life and exhibit this image in a public space.
Most importantly I include these images to depict which visual input or stimulation I encountered just before going to a gallery exhibition. Undoubtedly these images, sounds and situations will shape the way I look at art just a few minutes later. So how do they change my view on things? And how do the things I see in a gallery influence my perception of reality shortly after? In order to make these often sub-conscious and hidden processes visible it is necessary to give an idea of the entire journey.