Taipa Village Cultural Association has extended a special invitation to three renowned art collectors with diverse backgrounds to exhibit their exclusive collections amassed over the years. The collectors are lawyer Frederico Rato, architect Francisco Ricarte, and painter Konstantin Bessmertny.
This unusual exhibition attempts to address the nature of collecting and prompt a visual conversation regarding cultural possessions by individuals with very specific and highly personal interests. These three collectors will share their thoughts on what and why they collect artworks and the significance of this long-term habit.
Collecting derives from humans’ basic instinct to survive. At the time when we turned from a nomadic to a sedentary species, we started to collect not just food elements, but also utensils which then instigated other forms of records such as paintings on cave walls.
This exhibition showcases a selection of works collected over the years, or even decades, by three local personalities: a lawyer, an architect, and a painter. This unusual exhibition attempts to address the nature of collecting and prompt a visual conversation regarding cultural possessions by individuals with very specific and highly personal interests.
These three collectors will share their thoughts on what and why they collect artworks and the significance of this long-term habit. In exposing the beloved artworks that adorn their most intimate space—their homes—some ideas on collecting art are unraveled. While aiming to promote collection as a cultural asset that starts with an individual’s initiative, this exhibition may lead to a broader sense of common wealth, healthy society, diversification of the local economy (art trading in general), and the nurturing of local and international talents.
The three collections couldn’t be more different. In the same manner as three minds have their own opinion on the same subject, each collection may indeed portray a facet of the collector’s personality. F. Rato has a keen interest in everything related to Macau–from old 19th century engravings of Macau’s waterfront to different painters depicting the territory. But he makes an exception when it comes to Marc Chagall–as the occasion arises, Rato and his spouse travel to see the master’s exhibition anywhere in the world.
Ricarte is a passionate photographer and an artist himself. He has a collection of two thousand well-catalogued photography books, and his artwork collection mainly focuses on photography. K. Bessmertny is a renowned Russian artist who settled in Macau in the early 90’s. He is showing a collection of old books, made into an art installation at the gallery, that people can touch and pickup to read. Most of these books are inspirations for his paintings.
Frederico Rato, founding partner of Rato Ling Lei & Cortés Lawyers and Notary, is also a habitual commentator at TDM television about politics and Macau in general. He has been invited as a speaker in conferences relating to several legal and non-legal matters and is the co-author of the Macau chapter included in the Global Financial Services Regulators, Oxford University Press, London, 2004-08, and is a contributor to other legal and non-legal publications.
“My understanding about art collection is not to keep and accumulate pieces hidden from the eyes of the others and satisfy myself with the contemplation of them, but to expose to anyone who can appreciate the human creativity. The beauty of the things of life must be shared. On the other hand, to show off pieces of art is also to reveal the taste of the collector, his values, his aims, the spirit that emanates from the matter, and the posture before the human condition. A simple message of understanding that for a collector art begins with her (his) life, but doesn’t finished when life ends, and he (she) can contribute for the cultural expansion, for the art interchange and for the enrichment of knowledge of the humanity.”
Francisco Ricarte, Portuguese, born in 1955, Architect, photography enthusiast since 1976, moved to Macau SAR, China in 2006. Asia has fascinated him since his arrival in Macau and allowed him to see his former world from a new perspective. He is one of the founding members of “HALFTONE”, a Macau Photographic Association, since 2021.
“It was a great joy and honor having this opportunity to participate in ‘Show-Off’ exhibition and share some of the photographs that I’ve been purchasing within the last years. More than seeing myself as a ‘collector’ I consider that I am an Art passionate, in particular for photography. As such, for those that visit the exhibition, seeing the shown photos is also ‘seeing me’ and what drives my Art passion. All shown photos were bought outside of Macau, thus, it is also an opportunity to share with others the artworks of several talented and renowned photographers such as Fan Ho, Mickael Kenna, Shoko Hashimoto, Nadav Kander, Patti Smith and Lisa Khristine.”
Konstantin Bessmertny was born in 1964 in Blagoveschensk, in the former USSR. Now based in Macau and Hong Kong, Bessmertny is one of the most distinguished artists working in Asia today. His technical mastery, achieved after nine years of studying fine art in the grand academies of Soviet Union, combined with his detailed knowledge on wide range of subjects – including literature, music, history and politics – lend his work exceptional intelligence and credibility.
“You are what you eat and drink (as well as how much you eat and drink), you are what movies, spectacles you watch, music you listen, books you read, friends you have, how much time on social media platforms you spend (the less, the better) and most of all what you collect. Your cubicle, flat, house says more about you than you think. If there are no books, pseudo Louis XIV style decoration with kitschy landscapes and flowers paintings, or pop/ fashion star posters and a TV monitor with PlayStation attached only, congratulations, you are at the bottom of cultural pyramid. If you are a stump or Queen’s memorabilia collector is a bit better. Whatever way, collecting, I believe, is not only represents and identifies you, but also makes your life meaningful and your experiences richer. And the subject of your collection doesn’t correlate to your income. I saw an original Picasso engraving at one Madrid common carpenter workshop’s and I saw a horrible interior in hello kitty style at a well to do people’s apartment In London. Good luck with your life.”
Supporter: Cultural Development Fund of the Macao SAR
Taipa Village Art Space, No. 16-18, Rua dos Clerigos, Taipa, Macau
Monday to Sunday
12 pm - 8 pm