"Making art and being an artist is a philosophical task than merely producing objects."
Walter Vanhaerents at the interview with Selina Ting for InitiArt Magazine in his office / art space in Bruxelles. Photograph: ©Selina Ting for InitiArt Magazine, 2011.
Meeting Walter Vanhaerents
[ 23 Feb 2011| Brussels ]
When Walter sat down in front of his library for the interview, he gave me the impression of a university professor. “I am a constructor”, he corrected me. But I could hardly imagine him with a safety helmet inspecting a construction site. “I can easily gauge the proportion of a sculpture within an exhibition space or a painting on a wall before the works are installed.” For this, he reassured me, that he did not even need a measuring tape. Convincing enough!
Then I figured him a student in Engineering or Architecture or Business Management in college, and once again, I was wrong. “I had a degree in Sophrology and a Master’s degree in Spanish”. What is Sophrology? Walter briefly defined it as the harmony between the body and the spirit, or between the ratio and the sensibility. Walter practiced Sorphology in his corporate management and his art collecting activities. Art for Walter is all about feeling; it allows him to stay in touch with the feminine aspect in his life and allows him to live a “double life”.
“I also studied film aesthetics and I wrote film critiques when I was young.” Another surprising discovery… Indeed, it was through experimental cinema that Walter discovered Andy Warhol and Pop Art, and developed a particular attention to the form of a piece of artwork.
Walter insists that there is no democracy in art collecting, it’s a very intimate and solitary engagement with oneself. “Before, I used to walk alone in fairs. People didn’t know who I am, what I do. It was a great time!” Today, Walter is listed among the top 200 collectors in the world by the Art News magazine; he can hardly pass through the crowd without being identified.
26 April 2011, Paris