A Conversation With Art Collector Sara Lysgaard

In a series of interviews, we zoom in on a selection of people who literally put art first, letting their lives unfold with, in-between and through art. The Art First Series features strong voices who share their ideas about why art matters to them, having become a crucial part of their existence. By introducing a new way to think and speak about art, Art First seeks to foster a new conversation about art and its vital importance in today's society.

Photo: Amanda Hestehave

Why do we need art in our lives?
I am a firm believer that we need art in our lives, and here is why: Art captures and gives us insight into our history, art makes you wonder and question things, art makes you engage with other people, art can serve as a tool to express yourself, art allows you to understand yourself on a deeper level, and the list goes on. I was fortunate to grow up with art, and a lot of it, and I really truly believe it has helped expand my horizon in so many areas. 

What does it mean to be a collector today? How would you like to contribute to the art world?
I am not sure it really means anything, to be honest. With that being said, I of course hope that I can contribute to the arts in some tiny way by collecting e.g. young upcoming artists. Perhaps, I can be some sort of support in the early stages of their career. I would actually like to do more of that, because it really makes a lot of sense to me. So on a personally level, it means a lot to be a collector, but I view it as something I personally gain from more than the other way around. I might me wrong, maybe it is a win/win.

Photo: Amanda Hestehave

Which difference does it make for you to be surrounded by art on a daily basis?
It means everything for me to be surrounded by art. It serves as a visual diary of my life. It marks special periods and events in my life. But on a more day to day basis, I feel like it supports my inner mood, that may either be happiness, sadness or curiousness etc., it does not matter, art can laugh with you, comfort you or question things with you. 

Can you recall any particular art experience that literally changed the way you perceive the world and live your life?
I once saw a Mark Rothko exhibition at Tate London. I remember I went in with a somewhat rushed inner state and mind, but as soon as I entered the show, I was immediately taken aback because of the beautiful vast open spaces and expressive colors. It broke me down to tears. Just like Rothko intended for the viewer. And in that moment, I realized how powerful art can be and how it shouldn’t be treated lightly or ‘rushed’. 

Photo: Amanda Hestehave

Picture a person who has never visited a gallery, seen a museum show, or bought a piece of art. How would you describe to him/her why art is important to have in our lives?
You often hear the phrase that when you have children you will experience the true essence of what love really means. I think this goes for art too, in some way. You cannot deprive yourself of that feeling art gives you, just like I imagine you cannot deprive yourself of that feeling when you have a baby. I am not saying you will experience the true essence of love when you immerse yourself into art, but I am saying that art comes with so many emotions and experiences attached to it, that it would be a shame if you didn’t allow yourself to immerse into that world too. 

If you had the political power, how would you like to bring about change in the art world?
I would definitely make sure to grant art academies more money. This is where talent is shaped and formed. And then next step would be to convert old industrial buildings around the city into artist studios, where artists can work and develop their talent, but at a very low cost on a monthly basis. 

Photo: Amanda Hestehave

Rise above logical sense for a moment and pretend that you could spend one day visiting your favourite art spots with one person, dead or alive, who has influenced your passion for art. Where would you go? With whom? And why?
I lost my father just before I turned 18, but luckily, he gave me one gift before he left this earth, and that gift is the ability to appreciate art. We didn’t have much time to venture out into the art world together and as I grow older, I often wish I could share thoughts with him on our joint love for art. So without a doubt in my mind, I would revisit the Rothko Chapel in Houston with him and just sit there in silence and take in the monumental and stunning dark purple pieces of art.