Luxembourg's bustling Kirchberg plateau is generally considered an area dominated by banks and the European Institutions.
Besides modern art museum MUDAM, one could be forgiven for writing it off as a district where business is conducted in neutral clone offices. But that is not the case. Behind the austere facades are offices brimming with art works, veritable hidden treasures, collected by companies for prestige, passion and often the pure pleasure of working alongside something beautiful.
For the sixth time, members of the public will have a chance to browse these private collections at the 2014 Private Art Kirchberg on September 28.
Altogether 11 different offices will open their doors to the public, allowing them to view private collections and temporary exhibitions.
Among the companies participating since the initiative's start is Kneip, where visitors can view works by artists as diverse as Damien Hirst, pop artists Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol, Jörg Döring and Christian Frantzen.
The collection belongs to Kneip chief Bob Kneip and began when the company moved to a modern office in Grand Rue in 2000, and the CEO wanted to improve the atmosphere.
“By pure hazard I saw a series of paintings I grew totally passionate about and it brought back old memories from the late '60s about pop art. I said it would be great to have these pieces in the office and I would really like to share with my teams and perhaps visitors and clients.”
Since then he has amassed more than 220 pieces which are located across five offices in Europe. A big fan of sharing, Bob explained that one of his greatest pleasures is seeing people's reactions to the works. “It's the appreciation of team members, clients, suppliers and visitors to our office,” he said, adding that he believes the collection defines the company's style and values.
“At the end of the day, we spend so much time at the office, we should make them as great places to be as possible.”
In addition to the colourful and vibrant collection at Kneip, a further 45 new, unseen pieces will be displayed at the office for September 28.
On the other side of the plateau, is the European Investment Bank building, which has taken a more methodical approach to acquiring its 580 works. Described as a “truly European” collection, the pieces present a wide spectrum of artistic creation from member states.
To be eligible for the collection, works must have been produced after 1958 when the European Communities were founded, the artist must still be living at the time of acquisition and he or she must come from an existing EU country or a candidate country.
Interestingly, many existing pieces were bought when the artists who created them were still emerging. Many have since gone on to become well known, for example Anish Kapoor, Tony Cragg and Sean Scully.
The collection has been divided into two exhibitions: the permanent works and a second thematic display curated especially for this edition called “La Terre est bleue comme une orange”.
Head of Arts Delphine Munro said the latter explores “the use of the colour blue in different media, the possibility to view all the works with a circular shape be they in 2D and 3D” as well as works which are surreal or have a surreal connotation or imprint.
She said: “I don't want to draw up a 'best of' list; I think it's very much up to the visitors to make up their own minds. Some visitors might want to explore and visit new talents some might want to visit pieces which have become blockbusters.”
She also urged visitors to see Border by Memory by Bulgarian artist Pravdoliub Ivanov, which comprises a neon tube which traces the course of the Danube. This work has been selected for the Mudam art museum's temporary “Coup de Coeur” exhibition, featuring one favourite piece of art from each participating firm. Entry to the museum will be free on September 28 to allow visitors to see them.
Private Art Kirchberg runs from 11am/12 noon to 7pm (times vary depending on the office) with shuttle buses linking the different sites.
To see the full range of participating offices, visit artkirchberg.lu
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