REDISCOVERY is a section dedicated to art from the 20th century and presents living or deceased artists who are underrecognized. The section aims to highlight surprising, unknown and original practices that have not yet entered into the art historical mainstream. As part of Art Brussels Insights, we spoke with Quentin Grosjean, owner of QG Gallery in Brussels about his participation in Art Brussels 2019 where he presented a solo of Georg Karl Pfahler in REDISCOVERY.
Conversation with Quentin Grosjean (owner QG Gallery, Brussels)
As told to Louis-Philippe Van Eeckhoutte.
What inspired you to open a gallery focused on historical positions, of which some are rediscoveries?
I saw a rise in galleries presenting contemporary art in Brussels but felt that the secondary and estate market was underrepresented in Brussels and that a new generation was needed. In terms of concept, the curated group shows that we bring at QG Gallery allow me to build exhibitions solely focused on my choices, my eye and which therefore completely represent my taste and feel in the current market. I stand entirely behind every artwork that comes through the gallery doors and having that control was also my aim.
What inspires you in art?
Simply the pure emotions it brings and the impact it can have on your day or life in general. Sharing these emotions while trying to bring added value culturally to our city is the best part of the job!
What was your first Art Brussels like as part of the Rediscovery section?
For our first participation in Art Brussels, we showed a solo Rediscovery booth of German abstract pioneer Georg Karl Pfahler. The fair itself was a fantastic experience to build connections with the public and clearly impacted the visibility of a young gallery such as ourselves. The project received wide exposure in Belgian and international press and we successfully placed works in Belgian collections. Ultimately that was the goal so we can say it was a successful edition for us.
You are currently showing Georg Karl Pfahler – whom you presented in REDISCOVERY at Art Brussels – in a group show of artists who reshaped German art. Can you tell us a bit more about the show?
The show was in the making for almost two years and presents a whole generation of artists who pushed through their ideas to reshape German abstraction after the war. Some of these artists shared classes, studios, friendships, inspirations and there is a cohesiveness to their works. We start from 1957 with Josef Albers’ Homage to the Square: Golden, going through periods and movements all the way to contemporary and the work of Katharina Grosse.
Your upcoming show at the gallery will juxtapose European and American artists with their Hungarian counterparts. It will feature Imre Bak who was presented by acb Gallery from Budapest in REDISCOVERY at Art Brussels 2019. How did that project come along?
I indeed met the friendly team of acb at Art Brussels, as they were also in the REDISCOVERY section. I was aware of a number of underrated artists in Hungary and as the conversation with acb kept going, it was evident that a trip to Budapest was needed.
Understanding the difficult situation for Hungarian artists in the ex-USSR was a key moment of that trip. The “artistic embargo” they suffered until 1989 definitely impacted their careers and the visibility of their work. Showing them opposed to very established European and American artists from the same period, we will try to highlight the sheer quality of their work.
What are your favourite places in Brussels?
Chez Richard for one or several drinks with colleagues and collectors. Nonbe Daigaku for the best Sushi in town. Parc de l’Abbaye de la Cambre for a stroll in a beautiful village in the middle of the city.
What is your advice for young collectors?
Don’t follow the hype. Spend less time at art parties and more time learning and discovering. It is the best way to form your own opinion and taste and of course, look for historic artists who are in the shadow.
Images in order of appearance:
Installation view Art Brussels 2019, Photo: Hugard & Vanoverschelde Photography
Installation view THE MOMENT IS ETERNITY – GERMAN ABSTRACTION: PAST & PRESENT, QG Gallery, Brussels, 2019, Photo: Hugard & Vanoverschelde Photography
George Rickey, Four Lines Diagonal Jointed, 1988, stainless steel, 426.72 x 121.92 cm, Photo: Hugard & Vanoverschelde Photography