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Art At Home

A well curated art collection can turn a house into a home, writes Jessica Hunkin. She speaks with two experts to find out more about the aesthetic value of art.

In sharing their insights and advice, Makgati Molebatsi and Yaniv Chen draw on both their personal and professional experience at the intersection of art and interior spaces.

An avid art collector, Makgati Molebatsi founded the independent advisory service Mak’Dct in 2016 to work with individuals and corporations on art acquisition and collection management.

Yaniv Chen, meanwhile, is a long-time art lover himself and founded the interior-architecture studio Master in 2017 with the purpose of creating spaces that feel warm, personal and sacred.

The purpose of art

Though it certainly amplifies the aesthetic of a home, it would be reductive to think of art in terms of decoration only. “Art enhances the ambience in a home,” explains Molebatsi. “It should not be acquired as decoration, but to enrich the liveability of a space.

“A home can boast beautiful interior design and furniture, but devoid of art to lift its spirit, it will feel unenergised and desolate.”

According to Chen, it is the emotive properties of art that help a house feel like a home.

“Art simultaneously portrays a sense of who you are and gives you a sense of self,” he says.

Curating a collection 

The volume of art available today from which to choose can easily cause one to leap from feeling sheer excitement to completely overwhelmed. Molebatsi speaks to passion as a guiding influence.

“Acquire what you love and resonate with,” she advises. “If you are true to your style and taste, it will manifest itself in whatever you acquire. This will be reflected in the integration of design, decor and art in the home you create, giving it a certain allure and charm that’s consistent with your character.”

In this way, cohesion happens naturally. “An art collection should reflect the personality and character of the individual, be it classic or contemporary, vibrant or contemplative, lavish or reserved, bursting with colour or monochromatic, traditional or avant-garde,” says Molebatsi.

Take your time 

The more time you take to consider purchases, the more rapport your art collection is likely to have. “Rather buy one piece than many. I always strongly advise clients against buying art for the sake of filling a space,” shares Chen.

“When you see something that you really like, spend ample time looking at the piece. You’re going to live with it for the rest of your life and it really is something you need to relate to. A collection is something that happens over the course of one’s lifetime. It’s not something to be achieved overnight.”

Considering a budget 

If budget is an issue, don’t be shy to enquire about payment plans – many art dealers and galleries offer these. “A smaller budget should not be a hindrance from acquiring art,” Molebatsi reassures. “Prints, which come in editions, are more accessible and affordable. Unique artworks, like paintings by early career artists whose pedigree is not yet established, are also affordable. In this regard, buy what appeals to you, an artwork that will still bring you joy years later.”

If budget is not an issue, you can move beyond buying art to fill up your home to becoming a patron. “Think carefully about what motivates you to acquire art,” advises Molebatsi. “While remaining true to your taste, educate yourself about the artwork and the artist; their style, technique, execution and career trajectory. Take a deeper interest with each artwork to become a discriminating buyer.”

Tips for presentation

“Various works lend themselves to different framing,” notes Chen. “A good framer will always be able to point you in the right direction.” Molebatsi’s guidance follows suit. “When framing an artwork, always have a conversation with the framer, oftentimes involving the artist if possible. Consult, consult, consult.” She adds, “A frame and an artwork should not compete for visual impact. The star is the artwork, not the elaborate frame.”

Sandile Zulu Lake Site Reflection at the Base of the Mountain of the Moon Fire water air earth canvas 2017 102 x 100

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