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Meeting with Bernad Magrez, president of the Bernard Magrez Cultural Institute

Interview

Meeting with Bernad Magrez, president of the Bernard Magrez Cultural Institute  - illustration 1

Artsper met Bernard Magrez, who founded his own cultural institute, to talk to him about his relationship with art.

Artsper: Could you tell us about your background?

Bernard Magrez: At the age of 13 I had to stop school and my father sent me to Luchon (Pyrenees) to do an NVQ as a wood sawyer. My roommate was François Pinault. As soon as I was 16, I started to buy art magazines and I cut out everything to do with Van Gogh. I had always been fascinated by the self portrait with bandaged ear. At 20, having set up my first business I was able to start a collection, and the first piece I bought was a fake! I still own it; it was a bull because I was passionate about bullfighting.


Meeting with Bernad Magrez, president of the Bernard Magrez Cultural Institute  - illustration 1
Meeting with Bernad Magrez, president of the Bernard Magrez Cultural Institute  - illustration 1

Artsper: Where did your desire to start a contemporary art fund come from?

Bernard Magrez: I started my collection with animal bronzes from the 19ᵗʰ century, then I was attracted by 18ᵗʰ century Flemish painting, in particular still lifes. Later on, meeting Bernard Buffet in 1993 changed my perspective. It was from that moment on that I built a contemporary art collection.


Artsper: The Bernard Magrez Cultural Institute is located in the heart of a region steeped in history, with four prestigious properties in the Bordeaux region. So you work in magical places. Do you think that art needs such settings to express itself in the best possible way?


Bernard Magrez: The confrontation between contemporary and ancient art has always really interested me. At the moment I like the relationship between the Baccarat and Graffiti Art exhibitions.


Artsper: Your exhibition “Baccarat. Cristal de légende” is currently showing alongside the exposition “Graffiti Art” until 27ᵗʰ September 2016. Can you tell us a bit more about these two exhibitions? 


Bernard Magrez: The Baccarat exhibition is a way of paying homage to French skill and style. I like these heritage treasures on display. In the middle of the magnificent scenography by Vincent Dupont-Rougier there are pieces from the 19ᵗʰ century, for example.

Graffiti Art shows the very rich collection of graffiti on canvas by Alain-Dominique Gallizia. It proves that it is indeed a true contemporary art movement, with artists such as Rammelzee, Toxic, T.Kid, JonOne…

Meeting with Bernad Magrez, president of the Bernard Magrez Cultural Institute  - illustration 1
Meeting with Bernad Magrez, president of the Bernard Magrez Cultural Institute  - illustration 1

Artsper: A good number of artists have already been able to benefit from your generous support; could you tell us a little more about them? How do you choose them? And which one impressed you the most?

Bernard Magrez: They are mainly encounters with an artwork or an artist. We have had Elsa Guillaume and Mathilde Denize (in 2014) in residence. In 2015, it was Charles Foussard and Tomas Lacque, two very different artists whom I particularly like, one is a painter and the other is a visual artist. In 2016, we welcomed the two winners of the Grand Prix that I launched this year: Amandine Pierné and Ann Cantat Corsini. They will put on exhibitions at the end of their residency at the Institute.

These artists have all marked me in different ways. I've been very lucky in my life, and now it's my turn to give it back. That’s why I promote young, talented artists; I give them time and the means to support their projects by effectively supporting the production of original works.

Artsper: What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a collection of contemporary art?

Bernard Magrez: Do it, and do it with passion! 

Artsper: What do you think of online art and projects like Artsper that allow for a wider dissemination of contemporary art?

Bernard Magrez: These are very good initiatives and we need young people who won’t hesitate to get involved. If I had to choose 10 works on the site, I would choose Basquiat by Jef Aérosol, Visage de femme by Benjamin Carbonne, Operenccia by Victor Vasarely, Panthère noire by Orlinski, Number one by JonOne, Sans titre by Sam Francis, Looking for Beatrice ref 2008 by Guy Denning, Mon lapin by Robert Combas, T 250 by Lucile Callegari and Naked Portrait 1 by Sun Hyuk Kim.


Their favourite artworks

Our recommendations Victor Vasarely, Operenccia, Painting

Victor Vasarely

Operenccia, 1986
40 x 66 x 1 inch
Painting

$350,000

Our recommendations Richard Orlinski, Wild Kong Daum, Sculpture

Richard Orlinski

Wild Kong Daum, 2013
20.3 x 15.7 x 8.7 inch
Sculpture

$19,873

JonOne, Raised Up, Painting

JonOne

Raised Up, 2012
54.7 x 76 x 1.6 inch
Painting

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