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Exhibition: April 28 to July 22
Potsdamer Strasse 97, 10785 Berlin

"Some people are thieves, because they’re simply possessed by an instinct for theft, there are other people who have saintly instincts, and then there are people whose instincts make them collectors, which means searching out things that strike them as precious and setting them aside and locking them up and spending lots of time looking at them. It’s very much like hoarding."
(Francesco Conz in conversation with Henry Martin, published by Lund Art Press, vol.2, no.2, 1991)

Francesco Conz (born in Cittadella in 1935, died 2010 in Verona) undoubtedly belongs to the third category. In the early 1970s he had opened a gallery in Venice which he closed shortly afterwards, since he didn’t have the heart to pass on the cherished art works to the buyers. Conz collected as if he were possessed. However, not art but artists, as Richard Carter Higgins once put it.

In his North Italian hometown Asolo, Conz brought together representatives of Viennese Actionism, Lettrism, Concrete Poetry and, above all, the Fluxus Movement, including artists such as Joe Jones, Nam June Paik, Charlotte Moorman, Daniel Spoerri, Emmet Williams, Takako Saito, Carolee Schneemann and Richard Carter Higgins.

His palazzo Baglioni in Asolo and later, after his move, the secret Casamuseu near Verona became the setting of Happenings and Actions, providing a temporary refuge for artists to work and retreat to, as well as offering a shelter for his ev er expanding collection.He didn’t just assemble art works but in keeping with the ideas of the Fluxus Movement he also filled those places with documents, photographs, letters, personal objects by artists, remainders from Happenings and Actions as well as Editions.

As a publisher Conz specialised in multiples, aiming to make art affordable and accessible. For him this meant he had the advantage of being able to let go of the works while simultaneously holding on to them.

During the exhibition at Helga Maria Klosterfelde Edition a selection of editions from the Archivio Conz – works by Richard Carter Higgins, Joe Jones, Allan Kaprow, Charlotte Moorman, Nam June Paik, Carolee Scheemann, Daniel Spoerri and Robert Watts – will enter into a dialogue with selected editions by artists represented by the gallery, such as written works by Hanne Darboven, screen prints by Matt Mullican, collages and works on paper as well as kites by Rirkrit Tiravanija.

A collection is always far more than the sum of its parts, this is particularly true for the legacy of Francesco Conz: it is a portrait containing many chapters, telling us about a unique collector and supporter of the Arts.

Please contact Alfons Klosterfelde at office@helgamariaklosterfelde.de or 030 97005099 for any additional information.

Text by Beate Scheder