Dslcollection: A Collecting Project for the 21st Century

Sylvain Levy in Art Asia Pacific:

Dslcollection-color-01_420In 2005, after almost 25 years of collecting art, my wife and I established Dslcollection after our first trip to China. For this project, we knew from the beginning that we did not want to just amass artworks. We wanted to embark on a “collecting project for the 21st century,” with a cultural perspective that reflects two tectonic changes that we are currently experiencing: the rise of China as a superpower, which is altering the face of the world, and the digital era that is transforming humanity as a whole. Today’s collectors have endless opportunities to show their collections to the public, from traditional methods such as museum loans to the post-internet model of sharing on social media or through virtual exhibitions. Yet most private collections are still in the “Digital Stone Age”; according to the website Larry’s List, in 2014 only 12 percent of collectors around the world were found to have an online presence. For Dslcollection, however, the digital world is more than just about having an online presence.

Firstly, the love for art is not a predetermined sensibility. Passion for art, like that for music, is nourished through exposure and education. Digital technology provides a channel for art to reach anyone with an internet connection, thus promising a future in which art is as ubiquitous to culture as popular music. But one has to be cautious with this global democratization—there is a difference between dissemination and vulgarization. A collection should be accessible, but also sophisticated. Collecting art and sharing it on a large scale, such as on the internet, comes with new responsibilities. Showing art virtually is not a new concept. Our vision for Dslcollection is greatly inspired by the late French novelist André Malraux, whose concept of musée imaginaire (“the museum without walls”) advocates presenting art outside the traditional confines of a museum setting. The same can be said of the Google Art Project, an online platform where users can access high-resolution images of artworks from partnering museums and institutions. The world’s art is literally at one’s fingertips.

More here.