Louis Kotze

Name: Louis Kotze
Location: Cape Town
Started collecting in year: 2007
Number of artworks in collection: +/- 300
Instagram: @Ljwkotze and www.stblodge.co.za/art for exhibitions

About Louis
What came into his life by accident, ended up being his life: art. Louis Kotze found his ‘Never Never Land’ in art, which serves as a place he escapes to and challenge his perception about life. The Cape Town-based art collector spend four hours a day to explore the world of art in depth and search for works to expand his self created weird, nonsensical, and fun ‘Never Never Land’. He always acts upon a personal experience and avoids hype. Hype will pass, the feeling of being deeply moved won’t.

Some of Louis’ artworks from the Artland app

See all Louis' artworks in the app

How did you become an art collector?
It can actually be considered an accident. As a young auditor I constantly needed change. The idea of change intrigued me, and also gave me a false sense of progression. I started collecting old South African masters my father used to collect. It became an alternative way to spend money. Then I walked into a gallery with sculptures carved out of paper. It bugged me so much that someone can make art of these things that wont last. I remember asking myself who would spend money on a bunch of cut up books and other futile material. I then started a study in contemporary art and the intellectual stimulation opened my world. The rest is history. I found my “Never Never Land”. A place I can escape to and where nothing makes sense. A place where my soul could find peace and a place that could challenge the way I see things. Life became art and art became life.

How would you describe yourself as an art collector?
By understanding that this is my “Never Never Land”, a place like nothing else, where I can escape as Peter Pan did then you will understand me as a collector. I am deeply passionate about contemporary art and collecting. It is deeply personal and a very emotional experience. I like the study of art as much as I enjoy collecting, so I spend four hours a day religiously looking, talking and studying art. I like things that challenge me and things that change my perception about art/life.

What was the first artwork you purchased?
First contemporary art I bought was a paper bust by Wim Botha. The first international artist I bought was Ned Vena, a black on black painting and it is still one of my favorite works.

What is the main motivation behind your collecting?
Firstly: Expanding my self created Never Never Land.
Secondly: Using it to challenge people and educate youngsters that they should break free from their self constrained boundaries intellectually and physically.

Describe your collection in three words.
Weird, nonsensical, fun.

Is there any particular type of art that appeals to you or anything that unites all the works in your collection?
The use of color and material in different ways always intrigues me. The diversity creates unity.

What considerations do you take into account before you buy a piece of art?
I must like it or it must challenge me. Sometimes I buy something because it bugs me and then it grows on me so much that I can’t imagine that I ever doubted it. My first Yngve Holen was so strange, that when I first got it I was angry with myself. I wanted to just put it away, but I gave it a prominent spot in the house and today it is one of my favorite works. It changed the way I view art.

What do you enjoy the most: The hunt associated with collecting art or the joy of ownership?
The joy of living with something.

How important is it for you to meet the artist behind the artwork?
Sometimes it is impossible, as I live in Cape Town and most of the artists I collect are based 12-24 hour flights away. But the artists that I have had contact with like Oscar Murillo, I collect in depth.

Do you have a desire to have your collection shown?
We already use the hotel (Stellenbosch Lodge www.stblodge.co.za/art for the current exhibition) as an exhibition space and for educational purposes. The idea for the private museum is in the pipeline as well. I do however loan the works in the collection to museums all across the world, as I effectively use the collection a s library for museum loans.

What are the wishes for the future of your collection? What would you like to see happen to it?
Hard question as this changes constantly as the collection and political environment changes in South Africa. If all works out, the entire collection will end up in a museum.

What work of art do you wish you owned if the price tag did not matter?
Peter Doig’s ‘Red Canoe’ or Barnet Newman’s ‘Big Blue’.

How do you know when you stand before a really great piece of art?
You just know. It is a feeling that you can’t describe. It moves you.

What is the best advice you have given or been given in terms of art collecting?
Be slow in buying. Avoid hype. Hype will pass. Wait…wait…and wait again. The right work will come. I waited 6 years for my first Wade Guyton, 3 Years for my first Jana Euler and Wolfgang Tillmans.

See all Louis' artworks in the app