VITRINE is launching a new series, “How to Build a Collection,'' in which the gallery interviews collectors about their collecting goals and priorities to share with our network. VITRINE is committed to fostering a dialogue with new and existing collectors, and we encourage transparency in the discussion of budgets and interests.
For our inaugural edition, we spoke with Sigrún Davíðsdóttir - an Icelandic writer, collector and art patron based in London - about building her growing collection of contemporary art, which includes works by Tarek Lakhrissi, Charlie Godet Thomas, Emii Alrai, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Alberta Whittle and Bronwyn Katz.
VITRINE: What is one of your favourite works that you have purchased within £5,000, and why?
Sigrún Davíðsdóttir: I only buy art that strongly appeals to me so it’s safe to say that any work I buy is my favourite – out of the works I have seen at any given time. One work I’ve recently installed is by Tarek Lakhrissi, 'BETRAYING COMMUNITY' (2021, featured in photograph next to Sigrún), one of the works he made for his solo show at Vitrine London last summer. I live close to Bermondsey Square, and make a point of looking at the art when I pass by, so in a sense, the gallery there is part of my everyday life, a great luxury.
V: What is most important to you when buying an artwork?
S: I haven’t yet been able to identify any one thing that’s important for me when it comes to deciding on buying art, but my main guideline is buying art by young artists, i.e. young in their practice. Their biological age doesn’t matter per se but they will, for obvious reasons, normally be young. Work by young artists often has energy and curiosity that partly gets lost when artists are more settled in their practice, when other things, such as experience, insight and overview, no less essential than energy and curiosity, become stronger. Since I would like to keep an eye on how artists develop, I like to sense that an artist will stay in art, not always given with young artists.
V: How does the role of a gallery assist in your research before buying an artwork?
S: A good gallery is, to my mind, essential for an artist but is no less important for the art lover. Although I will not choose work just because it comes from a certain gallery – more is needed – I find that if I like one artist it’s likely that the gallery will have other artists whose works appeal to me i.e. there’s an understanding of art that appeals to me. So, I follow exhibitions at the galleries I like. I wouldn’t use the word “research,” my way of looking at art is more serendipitous than researched, but I’m lucky enough to have friends who are artists or run galleries, from whom I have learnt a lot and keep on learning.
V: Where is an unexpected or surprising place that you have installed an artwork?
S: I don’t think certain places are fit or not fit for art, so I don’t think anyone location is more unexpected or surprising than another. Any place is the right place for an artwork that fits there. I like all kinds of objects, found objects or other non-art objects, and like to place them with or among artworks, one way of placing the art firmly in my own everyday life and surroundings.
V: If a work is beyond your budget, what are your tips for working towards that purchase?
S: Regularly putting money aside, as you would for other important purchases, is one way of purchasing a work. Also, keep in mind that galleries are normally willing to accept payment in instalments for more expensive works, as we did for Charlie GodetThomas’ ‘Cloud Study’ which I discovered at Frieze Sculpture 2019. But otherwise, just keep looking until you see work that fits your budget. And yes, be sure you are interested in a piece because you like it, not because of what other people think.
V: What is your advice for someone who is new to collecting artwork?
S: The best advice for someone interested in art and perhaps in buying art is just to see as much art as possible, in museums and galleries and elsewhere where art is found. I either go alone or, when lucky, in the company of artists or gallerists, i.e. with people who are knowledgeable about art – to my mind, by far the best company when looking at art!
Lead Image: Portrait of Sigrún Davíðsdóttir with Tarek Lakhrissi's 'BETRAYING COMMUNITY' (2021) hung to her right.
The selection of images below are available works from VITRINE within a budget up to £5,000:
For additional information regarding the artworks in this story or others at this price point, please contact: email@example.com.