There are different approaches to running a gallery and designing the program. My gallery is relatively small, and all the artists’ positions we work with relate to me in a way. I have to understand the works conceptually, but desire also plays a role. Only when I myself am very enthusiastic can I convey that in the same way. That’s what gallery work is all about. In terms of content and aesthetics, an image of the gallery forms over time; it gets a profile. Different interests come together, and at best collectors, curators, and artists feel well-advised. It is fun to accompany and support the artists in their development. Good collaborations often only prove themselves over time, but in a time when everything is negotiated very quickly, it can not be taken for granted that trust grows and collaboration intensifies. However, close ties can also become problematic, for example, if an artist wants to move to another league. This is probably a business risk; a good program should be courageous and unique.
Honestly, I don’t understand the conversation about galleries without space. As long as we have physical bodies ourselves and are in real spaces, the material encounter with an artwork also contributes to the experience of it. How am I supposed to offer an artist a collaboration if there is no place to exhibit? Matter, body, space, exhibitions are the central themes for me. Talks, books, etc. are tools to communicate the work and are part of it, as are, of course, websites.
Many artists are represented by several galleries in various countries. Galleries are constantly forming alliances with each other, which is essential in order to ensure optimal support for artists at crucial points. We operate within circles of frenemies in which we constantly exchange information about what’s going on. Information about fairs, collectors, or institutions is essential and it is important to share it with colleagues. With the various sharing formats, this becomes more visible. Role models are also vital. After all, it is mainly gallery owners who are on the committees of the fairs. As a young gallery, it’s exciting to see how your colleagues work. You learn a lot. A gallery can’t get very far in complete isolation.
Deborah Schamoni has been running her gallery in Munich since 2013.