Started in 1994, the D.Daskalopoulos Collection is today an extended yet focused collection of contemporary art by leading international and Greek artists. The artworks included in the collection are drawn from the artistic practice of recent decades and focus on the human body as a source of creativity and the vessel of existential, social, and ideological struggle. Many of the most significant names in post-war and contemporary art are represented – figures whose output and ideas have shaped the way in which subsequent generations of artists have developed and others continue to emerge.
The collection’s inner compass is orientated towards the most elemental and universal issues of the human condition. The collection’s inner compass is a magnetic orientation towards the most elemental, diachronic, and age-old issue of the human condition. Despite the fact that its holdings chronologically fall within the artistic practice of the last few decades, this orientation distances it away from following the ephemeral artistic or social trends of the moment.
The collection gives particular prominence to large scale installations and sculptures, as well as drawing, collage, film and video.
Exhibitions of the D.Daskalopoulos Collection have taken place at the Whitechapel Gallery, London (2010-2011),Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao (2011) and Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh (2012-2013).
Dimitris Daskalopoulos about his collecting
I marvel at the inspired, creative existence that is the intricate and inexplicable reality of the human being. A finite, vulnerable organism which despite its inherent knowledge of its restrictions and susceptibility, is simultaneously capable of such vision, ingenuity, imagination, and resourcefulness. An existence which exhibits a constant will to prevail over the inexplicable and to conquer the unfathomable complexity of what surrounds it. A being that, driven by a will to live, feel, enjoy, and create can overcome or cope with any adversity, whether external or of its own making.
Through my collection I try to identify depictions of this reality, this mystery, as I see it expressed in artists’ works. By putting different works of art in dialogue, I try to create an imagery that expresses this constant tension between life and death, between futility and immortality, an image of the human struggle and its propensity towards optimism and endeavour instead of nihilism and abandon.
The collection is imbued by the principle that collecting is about creating a rich web of relationships among artworks, whose connected totality of meaning is more complex than the simple sum of all single artworks in the collection. It is interesting to note that the etymological root of the Greek word collect (συλλέγω) means “saying something with”.
The Collection as a repository
The D.Daskalopoulos Collection considers its role to be that of a temporary caretaker of the physical manifestation of great ideas and artistic creativity. In order for the power of the ideas embodied by the artworks to achieve maximum impact, it is a necessity for art’s message to be shared and disseminated amongst an audience as wide as possible, which is a goal the D.Daskalopoulos Collection aspires to.
The collection has an open lending policy based on the belief that artworks’ impact and content should be disseminated to as wide a public as possible instead of lingering in dark storage crates.
For almost 30 years, the collection has loaned over 200 artworks to more than 120 international institutions in 5 continents and has been utilized by museums to create their own curated exhibitions.
The natural evolution of this mentality is the decision to gift the greates part of the Collection to public museums.
3rd Light (from The 7 Lights, 2005 – 07), 2006
Table and digital color video projection (silent, 14 min.)
Installation view: The Luminous Interval, Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, April – September 2011
Courtesy Greene Naftali Gallery, New York
Photograph: Erika Ede