4. Oktober 2019

For Marta Gnyp, not a day goes by without art

Marta Gnyp’s life revolves around international contemporary art. An art consultant, author, and gallery owner based in Berlin, she assists collectors all over the world to build top-class collections. She also supports and advises artists in developing their careers, contributing her experience and professional expertise. In her books, she reflects on art, the art world and what she calls the “crazy, fascinating age we live in.”

Thank you for participating in “The White Cube Art Project” in Berlin! What did it feel like for you to suddenly be the central figure and focus of an art happening?

The White Cube is so empty and stripped-back that I was very aware of the presence of my opposite number. It was a very interesting experience. The shoot was just me and the fantastic photographer, Mike. Of course I couldn’t help thinking about the concept of the “white cube” in the history of art. Displaying art in an empty white space is so natural to us today, but it was only introduced about 100 years ago. That shows how much everything is in a permanent state of flux, and anything is possible.

Our project is about presenting women with personal “rough edges” or quirks; what are yours?

I always try to be ultra-efficient, and perhaps I try too hard. Because of that, I’m pretty impatient and not always very kind to people. Also, I’m not good at small talk, which can come across as arrogant.

What makes your heart beat faster?

When I see or experience a fantastic achievement; it could be an outstanding artwork, a sporting triumph, or a brilliant idea that opens up new perspectives of thinking and acting.

What can’t you live without?

Freedom. The freedom to say what I want, do what I want, wear what I want, and travel where I want. My personal freedom is unquestionably unconditional.

How did you become what you are today?

I had the enormous luck to be in the right place at the right time. I didn’t spend much time mulling over the potential dangers in life so I took decisions that appear to be courageous with the benefit of hindsight. Oh, and I always worked hard.

What does art mean to you? What emotions does art spark in you?

Art is a compressed visual and symbolic expression of human existence. Nothing says more about people than a work of art. If you want to know about 17th century society, say, just take a close look at paintings from the period and you’ll see the homes people lived in, the clothes they wore, but also the symbols and values that meant the most to them. And staying in the 17th century, with Rembrandt for example, we can recognize that our human emotions haven’t changed an iota. Although everything around us is in a state of flux, we still carry on loving, hating, failing and celebrating our successes in exactly the same way as we did back then.

What has to be done to strengthen women’s role in art?

Women already have an extremely strong presence in the art world. Many gallery owners are women, there are many female students at art schools, and many women artists work very effectively in today’s art system. It’s certainly true that women used to be at a disadvantage in the world of art, but we can’t change the past, and we are now experiencing a reevaluation of many historical women artists.
As women take on greater economic roles, I hope more women will collect art; this is very important. I don’t believe in showcasing women artists as special; that exceptionalism has a negative effect over time and turns women into creatures that need support simply because they are women.

Do you feel you sometimes need a white wall to help straighten out your thoughts?

Definitely! Without a white wall, I could easily slip down into a black hole of routine.