ART AMSTERDAM: Interview with Erika Hoffmann (Collection Hoffmann)
The art collector Erika Hoffmann, a native of the Rhineland, moved to Berlin in 1994. Together with her husband Rolf Hoffmann, she opened her 1000m² private museum in the former “Sophien-Gips-Höfe”. Her collection includes works of Günther Uecker, Frank Stella, Bruce Nauman and Mike Kelly. For the Art Amsterdam, she selected works from artists who once worked in the Rijksakademie and now live in Berlin. The artists are, among others, Tjebbe Beekman, Mathilde ter Heijne, Alexandra Leykauf, Mathilde Rosier, Bojan Sarcevic and Marike Schuurman.. The exhibition “Berlin – Amsterdam” can be visited at this year’s Art Amsterdam.
Artfacts.Net talked to the collector.
AfN: Dear Mrs. Hoffmann, I am glad that you could take some time for us and answer a few questions. First of all, I would like to know how you came to the art world.
Hoffmann: I actually found out during my preparation time here; because I have been asked again and again why exactly I was working for Art Amsterdam and for the Rijksakademie respectively. - I think it's because here, in Dutch museums, I have seen contemporary art for the first time. We lived in the Rhineland at that time. I accompanied my stepfather, who was the director of a museum, on his travels. And it was at the age of 15, 16, 17 that I have seen it here for the first time. It gave me a true reality check. So many people were actually visiting the museums - a lot more than what I knew from German museums. Whole families came, lifting up their children to show the objects, and it was such a pleasure! In Germany, I had to address myself to the attendants when I wanted to talk to someone during the day. There was no one else. That was the situation in the 50s.
AfN: You already mentioned Amsterdam. You curated an exhibition from the Rijksakademie, Berlin - Amsterdam; what were the criteria for your selection of artists?
Hoffmann: Personal taste. And I was told at the beginning to proceed just how I was used to approach art. Actually, there would not have been an alternative because I don't have a professional routine to follow.
AfN: Could you explain the title of the exhibition: "Folded or tilted realities, where delusion and reality overlap"?
Hoffmann: I don't know if you have already been in the showroom which we like to call "pavilion", in opposition to the other booths. You will perhaps see what I mean: there is an overlap, or a bend, between the created reality that is superimposed or to be seen simultaneously which is quite irritating, and you are wondering what it is exactly that you are seeing, because there is also a third reality on the wall. All this discharges of course in the cliché that Dutch people have always presented reality in an interesting way. They were considered as the masters of this art - at least from the German point of view -, whereas we have perhaps rather developed the speculative. And I was interested in that. You might have noticed that there are three Dutch, one German, one Serb and one Frenchwoman.
AfN: You studied history of art, worked for 20 years as fashion designer, you have collected art for almost 40 years now, and now you are here as a curator. Fashion and art are always linked to society in which they develop. What are - from your point of view - the social questions that contemporary art is dealing with? And what kinds of themes interest you?
Hoffmann: This is directly connected to the fact that I have perceived reality in a special way. I am really interested in the question how the relation to the body is changing, given the growing virtuality of our environment, of our information and of all that we are exposed to. As designer, the relation to the the body has always been the centre of attention: how do you feel "inside your skin"? - And in this case, let's consider clothes as a second skin, and architecture as a third. - What will happen to our physis? How can we succeed to stand up to all that is assailing us? We will soon be able to use buttons that perceive all this, but I already feel overwhelmed by all this information that I am supposed to gather, and that I am cetrainly also interested in at the same time.
Marike Schuurman - from the series 'Plots' 2005; Courtesy: Rijksakademie
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