Recently, on NOWNESS, we discovered an amazing video by Matthew Donaldson, featuring Villa Dorane, one of entrepreneur and art collector Jean Pigozzi’s villas. Located in Cap d’ Antibes, the house originally built in 1953, was later playfully and humorously refurbished by the late Ettore Sottsass and includes an array of daring colour combinations and quirky decoration elements. In the video we see Pigozzi roaming casually around the house, comically dragging his slippers across its floors as he takes notes in a little notebook or reads a book in one of its guest rooms before jumping into his Volkswagen Type 181 for a ride across the Mediterranean countryside...
NOWNESS Presents ''In Residence: Jean Pigozzi'' | A film by Matthew Donaldson.
The residence hosts some beautiful works of contemporary African art, all of which are part of Jean Pigozzi’s extensive collection. Founded in 1989, his Contemporary African Art Collection (CAAC) is the largest collection of its kind in the world. Pigozzi collects the work of contemporary African artists with the help of independent curator André Magnin, who specialises in non-Western – in particular African – contemporary art. During the course of their collaboration, they have ''discovered'' many noteworthy and talented African artists such as Seydou Keïta, Bodys Isek Kingelez, Frédéric Bruly Bouabré, Georges Adéagbo and Romuald Hazoumé. Pigozzi’s aim in all of this is not only supporting these artists financially, but also helping them receive exposure and recognition by exhibiting their work all over the world.
The CAAC foundation is constantly looking for work from artists who either live or originate from Africa to add to their collection. In his attempt to represent men and women equally, Pigozzi also strives towards building a sustainable bond between the CAAC and the artists.
Here are a few quotes, in a simple and disarming tone, from Jean Pigozzi himself:
''I am certain that this contemporary African art will influence a huge number of young artists around the world. My regret is that I did not start the collection ten years earlier. I am convinced that dozens of great and fascinating artists are hiding from André and me, all around Africa, but we will find them sooner or later.''
''I am dyslexic, so I never read that much about art theory or art history. Instead I looked at thousands of art books and art magazines of all kinds. I visited hundreds of museums, trillions of art galleries (from good, to bad, to super-bad!), and spectacular exhibitions all over the world. I have never been interested in the politics that surround art. That just seems pointless to me - I hate it.''
''Throughout history, dealers have helped artists to succeed. Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler was Picasso's dealer for many years, and helped him a great deal. The Medicis famously patronised many artists. All the rich ladies that Andy Warhol painted were helping him and the Factory to live. Artists have to live, like everybody else on the planet. Some artists are better businessmen than others, which means that it is not always the best who are the most prosperous.''
''It is not easy to go from the walls of a modest studio in Mali to the walls of the Museum of Modern Art. That is another reason why I think the work that we are doing [at the CAAC] is so important. Yes, we have perhaps missed dozens of great artists, but the twenty or thirty that we have in the collection will be, and have been, seen by thousands of fascinated people around the world. This fills me with pride.''