November 2013 – “Videoinsight® Collecting Room”: “Six Videoworks from Six International Private Collections”

Jhafis Quintero, Knock Out, Videoinsight® Collection
Jhafis Quintero, Knock Out, Videoinsight® Collection

Art and Science Videoinsight® Foundation for Artissima Fair 2013 presented “JHAFIS QUINTERO: SIX VIDEOWORKS FROM SIX INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE COLLECTIONS”

Opening was on November 9, at 6,30 pm, in the Videoinsight® Center, via Bonsignore 7, Turin, with the participation of Seven International Collectors: Ronald Asmar and Romain Jordan, Christian Berthier, Verena Butt d’Espous, Rebecca Russo, Manuel de Santaren, and Agah Ugur. The event has been in collaboration with Barbara Polla and Analix Forever. Seven collectors related with the artworks of the video artist Jhafis Quintero.

Jhafis Quintero, born in Panama, spent 10 years in jail, and revealed himself as an artist whilst imprisoned. For Jhafis Quintero, Art has been “essential to survive”; an alternative to violence, which also enables him to transgress boundaries. Quintero is working on a series of ten videos, one for each year spent in prison. Six videos have already been created, one of which, “Knock out”, is currently shown at the 55th Venice Biennale 2013 in the Latino-American Pavilion. The remaining four videos are yet to be finished. In his work, Quintero aims to confront the viewer with his experience of imprisonment, his fears and inability to communicate, but also to his intellectual freedom, his creativity and desire for a new beginning. As such, Quintero shows that life in jail as an extremely rich experience. Jhafis Quintero’s Art is not about jail itself, but rather about life: the energy of the mind, body and soul. All the videos express meanings related to universal primary needs and psychological issues essential to humanity: life, death, survival, time, light, compulsion to repeat, homeostasis, crisis, evolution, change, relationships with others and oneself, awareness, imagination, dream, insight, etc.

Seven collectors have chosen six different videos from this same artist.They share with us what motivated their different choices.

Ronald Asmar and Romain Jordan, two Swiss collectors, were receptive to the positive message of the artist’s story: a creative life is possible after jail. The reason for collecting was, at first, their humanitarian sensitiveness to this powerful message of hope, but also a strong interest in collecting video art for the first time. They chose two videos: “We only exist when we communicate” and “Hombre que camina”.

Christian Berthier, a French collector, purchased edition one of all ten videos after viewing only four of them, and whilst six still remained to be produced: a strong commitment to the artist’s work, which contributed to making possible Quintero’s presence at the Venice Biennale. Christian Berthier immediately connected with Quintero’s work. The powerful staging of the relationship between the inmate and his body particularly impressed him.

Verena Butt d’Espous, a London-based Franco-Swiss Collector was touched by Quintero’s work because of the artist’s use of Art to transgress limits whist finding redemption. As a collector sensitive to social issues, she was receptive to the positive message carried by Quintero’s experience, but also the intellectual strength and freedom that he embodies, and the proof of the “essentiality” of Art as a means of communications. She chose “Knock out” because of the symbolism of the fight against one’s shadow; one’s worst enemy can be oneself.

Rebecca Russo, Italian Collector, President of Art and Science Videoinsight® Foundation chose “Knock out” with her mind and heart but also somewhat unconsciously because it was her first contact with Quintero’s work at the Venice Biennale. She strongly feels that the power of these videos have nothing to do with any possible compassion for the inmate. The power of Quintero’s videos, on the contrary, lies in the fundamental transformation of a personal experience into a universal one, the exact type of conversion that allows the artist to tell us “the mystical truth”. The ambivalence, the conflict, the drama, the energy, the research of a solution, the escape, the sublimation showed in Quintero’s videos are inside every one.

Manuel de Santaren, an American collector, acquired “Sweet Powder” because the artwork speaks about fundamental ambiguities: imprisonment and freedom, control and escape, communication and misunderstanding, attraction and mistrust… and also because it appeared to him, as a very knowledgeable video collector, that he was discovering something really new and unseen.

Agah Ugur, Ceo of Borusan Holding AS, which owns the Borusan Contemporary Art Collection (a very special Collection open to the public and aiming to increase the interest of a wider audience for contemporary art in Turkey), discovered “La Hora Garrobo” at LOOP, a video-focused Art Fair, in May 2013. Agah Ugur considered the video to be fundamentally original and one of the best works in the entire fair. He acquired the video for his own collection.

A talk titled “Collectors Choices” has been on November 9, 2013 at 2,30 pm inside Artissima Fair and at 6,30 pm of the same day there was the Opening of the exhibition in the Videoinsight® Center.

A same passion for the Video Art weaves six private collections into a common point of departure and arrival, fertile stage in their evolution. During the talk, the seven collectors will exchange their experiences, in presence of the artist.