“Collecting art is about collecting an idea, it is about exploring thoughts and an artistic philosophy.”

Interview with Petter Snare, Art Collector and Future Director of KODE Art Museums of Bergen

by Jo Morten Weider

If you google ”Petter Snare”, you will know straight away that he is both an art collector and a publisher. Keep clicking around and you will find out he is a jurist, graduate in economics and business administration, former partner of Standard (Oslo), cookery editor, treasurer and as announced this week, the future director of KODE Art Museums of Bergen. If you have not encountered the term ‘a renaissance man’, you might want to google that too. Artland visited Petter Snare and his husband Knut Darre Christiansen.

Most people interested in art in Norway do not need to turn to the internet – they already know who Petter Snare is. He has been a prominent voice in the public art debate for a long time. He has been a collector for more than 20 years, and besides that, he runs the publishing company Teknisk Industri and Uten Tittel, which specializes in art books. With his husband, he has built one of the most exciting collections of contemporary art, with a special focus on photography, with a mixture of Norwegian and international artists.

”We try to rehang at least every other year,” says Christiansen. The collection, in its entirety, is far too sizable for the couple’s home. Because of this, they have a warehouse, which houses around 300 artworks. To Snare and Christiansen, collecting art is not just about displaying the works for themselves or others. The psychical work is just a part of it. “Collecting art is about collecting an idea,” Snare explains. “It is about exploring thoughts and an artistic philosophy. If we had allowed ourselves to be limited by space, we would not have had the opportunity to collect these thoughts and expressions.”

Artland in Oslo

It is impossible not to be impressed by the Matias Faldbakken piece in their living room. “Cultural Department” (2006), a painting Faldbakken painted directly on one of the living room walls in the apartment, takes up the entirety of the wall. Snare and Christiansen have several works by Faldbakken and other artists whom are represented by Standard gallery. The gallery, which is considered to be one of the most interesting and progressive European galleries of today, was founded by Eivind Furnesvik in collaboration with Petter Snare. Several of the artists have achieved international stardom and their works are sold for six-figured amounts at auctions. But, as he answers when I ask if he’s attracted by the prospects of making money off of his collection, “the possibility of economic returns is the least interesting thing about collecting art.”

However, as firmly established, quality is not free. Besides money, it takes a fair amount of social capital to build a high quality and extensive collection, Snare underlines. “The gallerist makes sure that there is quality. There is a strong bond of trust between the gallerist and the collector and this is important. I want to be sure that when I walk into the gallery, the gallerist is an editor. This is what makes the gallery so important – it represents an artistic view.”

Petter Snare, Art Collector and Future Director of KODE Art Museums og Bergen

However, things are quite different for the new generation of art buyers. The people who explore the world through means of Instagram and other social media, makes several thousands of insignificant and highly significant decisions in the form of clicking, scrolling, and swiping every single day. Is this new generation in some sense their own curators?, I ask. “Well, in some sense yes,” Snare replies. ”But I do not think that galleries will disappear or be replaced. That being said, when galleries sell online, for example in Artland, and the presented work is the result of a selection process, it becomes interesting. I have bought several pieces based on jpeg-images I have received through email.”

In Artland, you can be sure that all the art for sale is kept at a high level quality and has been valued by art experts in advance, I ensure, before I thank two of Norway’s most straightforward and sincere art collectors for the meeting.

Artland is soon offering editions from Teknisk Industri in the app.

Website: Teknisk Industri

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