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Nathalie Guiot: Art Explorer

Mar 9, 2019

At the occasion of Collectible, the fair of 21st Century from 14 to 17 March at Vanderborght Building in Brussels, TL Mag met Nathalie Guiot collector and founder of Thalie Foundation.

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Text by Marie Honnay

A passionate collector and the initiator of Fondation Thalie, a foundation for the promotion of the emerging art and culture scene on the international level, Nathalie Guiot told us about her view on design and her growing interest in gesture: in her opinion, the best response to the rampant virtualization of our society.

TLmag: What exactly does it mean to be a collector in 2019?
Nathalie Guiot: To me, being a collector indicates curiosity and a desire to support modern design. It’s a perspective, a mindset. It also means involving myself in a relationship with the living artists of my generation, or even younger. I have been collecting for 10 years and, in retrospect, I believe I have managed to create a pictorial corpus around the themes that I am passionate about: the plasticity of language, texture, craftmanship, the concept of impression and time in a work. I have also realized how close I am to female artists, such as Sheila Hicks, Farah Atassi, Camille Henrot, Caroline Achaintre, etc.

TLmag: How do you see the purchase of works?
N.G.:  As an intellectual activity and of course as a long-term investment. Acquiring a piece and imagining it as part of an ensemble, responding to the works already present, is a fascinating and infinite challenge. I can’t buy everything, so I also need to be very selective. Right now, I am very interested in the concept of “making” in art. I place great importance in the artist using their hands to create, because we have arrived at a point where, with technology and artificial intelligence, we live more and more in an era of dematerialization. It is thus urgent to return to the physicality of gesture.

TLmag: How do you look at design in the broad sense?
N.G.: Everything interests me. I’m greedy. I have observed that, with technological advances and the issue of ecological transition, certain designers and artists are using new living materials to create. They are applying new means of expression such as 3D sculpture and algorithms. The design sector is undergoing tremendous change.

TLmag: Why did you set up Fondation Thalie?
N.G.: To be closer to the process of design, from idea to realization, in order to enter into dialogue with the artist, especially by commissioning works, to share my passion for art with the public, to support artistic projects that touch on social themes such as the Europe of tomorrow or climate change. The mission of the foundation is to support artistic projects that connect with the artistic activities of fragile communities. To me, art is an important lever for social emancipation. It enables a better relationship with the world around us.

TLmag: The theme of one of the Fondation Thalie‘s residences is ‘art and ecology’. How can artists make a difference at that level?
N.G.: Through their unique and forward-looking perspective, they have a poetic vision and relationship with the world, which is vital in these times of deregulation and confusion.  They do essential work with the public. They awaken consciences, and transcend reality through the poetry of images.

TLmag: You presented a textile exhibition focused on Leila Nour Johnson on the theme of exile. At what point does fashion become art?
N.G.: For me, fashion is a statement, a way to be. Leila Nour Johnson is a photographer, and textile is a medium on which she can print the works she designs on the computer. Leila is a young graduate of La Cambre Arts visuels. The mission of the foundation is to make visible the work of such emerging artists.

TLmag: What advice would you give to young collectors?
N.G.: I would advise them to spend time in museums in order to better understand art history, to read the professional press, to visit galleries and to engage with associations of ‘friends of museums’: a good way to build a network and share their passion.

TLmag: How do you assess the new fairs like Collectible?
N.G.: It’s a fair that makes very targeted choices, both forward-looking and unique. It has a firm place in the Brussels market. There are always things to discover and it’s a pleasure to attend.

TLmag: You have been in Brussels for a long time. Are you still enthusiastic about Belgian artists?
N.G.: Of course, they are like my family and Brussels is like a village. Fondation Thalie is a long-term project; one of its goals is to unite a community: the community of artists with a consciousness of the changing world, and who want to be involved in a different way. It is also about creating transversalities between disciplines thanks to a multidisciplinary programming, between visual arts, performance art and contemporary thought. All, within a desire to share know-how and cultural exchange.

For Art Brussels, Fondation Thalie hosts the exhibition “En même temps, elle sentit la matière du ciel” featuring Karine Rougier and Alessandro Roma, from 24.4 until 15.6.2019 – opening on 23.4.2019 – 5-9pm.

Featured portrait by Cici Olsson

Fondation Thalie, 166 chaussée de Vleurgat, B-1050, © Michel Figuet
Installation view of RARA at Fondation Thalie, © Su Yu Hsin
Lionel Estève, jewelry creation for Thalie Foundation, 2017
Nathalie Guiot, founder of Thalie Foundation, Brussels, BE. Photo by Michel Figuet
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