Răzvan Bănescu is a good connoisseur of the Romanian contemporary scene and a devoted collector. He is a curious and enthusiast participant at the galleries` opening events or at national and international fairs, but also at the artists` workshops in Bucharest and throughout the country. He is a Board member of the MNAC Friends Association and a member of the Romanian Art Experts and Evaluators Association. Since 2016 he is a GAP member (Groupe d’Acquisition pour la Photographie) Centre Pompidou, and during 2014-2016 he was member of REEAC (Russia and Eastern Europe Acquisitions Committee) Tate Modern.
You are one of the contemporary art collectors that are taking this hobby very seriously and this is something, unfortunately, so far a rara avis in Romania. How was your passion born?
Before being a collector, I am an art lover. I grew up with this. Since I can remember, I was surrounded by library books and paintings on the walls. They were both part of my normal childhood. Later on, I found it normal and natural to spend hours and hours in libraries and antique shops, and I find it just as natural today to spend whole days (as much as possible) in galleries, museums and art fairs. When I started to be able to spend money, I became very interested in the area of historical vanguard and I managed to collect mostly books and documents from this time. Going towards the plastic art created by these times was something unavoidable. And from this point and up to contemporary art was only one step left…I made it, and it would have be difficult for me to stop. Since then, I am closely and curiously watching the scene of contemporary art. For me, collecting is not an objective in itself, it is rather a consequence of the interest I have in this field. And, most and foremost, it is a way to understand it better. Therefore, I don`t consider contemporary art a hobby, but (in particular) a part of a certain life model – a part that I live with lots of emotions and, at least, with equal passion.
What are the factors that influence the decision to buy something? Are there many steps from the first purchase to the creation of a collection?
Definitely, (but not always irrevocably) I have to like the artwork I decide to buy. I don`t necessarily have a set of rules that I find mandatory to go by. And much less if they are very much alike with the ones that can be found in the books explaining, for example “how to create a contemporary art collection in 10 steps”; or if they come up in contexts like “ensuring the rapid growth of the contemporary art investment profitability”. However, it is true that I never jump in to make a purchase that could endanger my family budget, I don`t seek to buy only a certain author signature and I always try to inform myself as much as possible. All of the things I have just mentioned are connected to the fact that I enforced a direction for the way I form my collection, even if, once time passes by, the objectives might change. It has happened to me already, so I have had it re-designed twice. Yet, I hope, that my collection will get some coherence at some point…
Continue reading in The Art of Living no. 16, an issue dedicated to contemporary art. DOWNLOAD