Gallerist Tatjana Pieters on art that represents ideals

18.04.2018 - Editorial

Tatjana Pieters Gallery is a fluid, ever-changing space for art with a message. Located in a renovated warehouse in Ghent, the gallery is known for introducing undiscovered Belgian and international talent. It also reintroduces older artists that have been overlooked, but play a key role within the local art scene and history.

Tatjana Pieters herself thinks that art galleries are a great way of promoting ideas. Through the art that she presents in her space she is advocating for responsibility and self-sufficiency.


Gallerist Tatjana Pieters on art that represents ideals-Belgian Boutique

Pieters wants to represent art that stands for her beliefs, so as her worldview changed, so did her gallery. Today we talk to her about the joys and challenges of being a gallerist.

How would you describe your job to a 5-year-old?

We have a big white space in which we show exhibitions with paintings, sculpture, videos and other materials made by artists from all ages. We sell their work and help them think about how they can present it. Every 6 weeks we have a different exhibition, by a different artist.

Some artists come to our place more than once. With them we have a longer relationship and we help them with the future of their career and work.
All in all, it’s an adventurous job that creates friendships with many different people. It takes you to places you would never expect.

Gallerist Tatjana Pieters on art that represents ideals-Belgian Boutique

Can art save the world?

I believe that art is an important tool in creating awareness. It offers multiple viewpoints on important themes and questions in life. I believe it can bring people together and create  communication, interaction, and cooperation.

I would not say that art in itself can save the world, but how we integrate it in our lives can make a change. A change in awareness and acting upon it, creates a change in the world. Art can stimulate creative power and open-minded thinking and acting.

Which Belgian artist do you admire?

Currently I admire the work of Luc Deleu. I love his engaged practice and his perseverance.

Deleu was trained as an architect, but became known in the art world because of his progressive vision on urban development. Some of his ideas that in the ’70’s seemed utopic are actually pretty common now. Like switching to biological power, roof gardening, beehives in cities… We’ll present some of his work at Art Brussels later this month.

Gallerist Tatjana Pieters on art that represents ideals-Belgian Boutique

What's your favourite Belgian museum?

The Middelheim Museum in Antwerp. It is one of the oldest open-air museums in the world. I used to go there a lot as a child. I think it definitely planted the seeds for my passion for art. This combination of art and nature has always excited me.

What should be banned from the art world?

Pretending, egotism, overproduction, a lack of environmental awareness.

We do not always practice what we preach. We talk about conscious living, authenticity, integrity, ecology, but often don't act accordingly. We do not say what we think. We often pretend what we are not for the sake of survival and keeping up appearances. We overconsume. We take flights monthly, weekly or even daily. We make art works and exhibitions to destroy them afterwards. We don’t recycle, we use unrecyclable materials. We spend huge amounts of electricity on keeping museums and galleries running. We invade cities with thousands of people just for the sake of being there, of not missing out.

Throughout my career these issues have definitely defined my approach and the artistic choices I’ve been making. I often work with artists who use natural, found, or low key materials. Artists who are engaged with their surroundings. I do my best to combine the demand of the art market and the need for keeping our ecological footprint low. It’s challenge that asks for personal responsibility and honest self-examination. A challenge I take on again and again.

Gallerist Tatjana Pieters on art that represents ideals-Belgian Boutique

What was the first art piece you bought for your private collection?

A work by Pamela Rosenkranz who I showed back in 2007 and who represented Switzerland at the Venice Biennial in 2015. I felt she was a special artist, but my gallery was too young to offer her the appropriate representation, so that was a way to stay connected to her work.

I mostly collect works by the artists I present or support longer term, with some exceptions like Walter Swennen or Ed Fornieles.

Who is your biggest competitor?

Myself. I am the only one who can stand in the way of my personal growth and that of others.

I started my gallery without any backing. It was possible, because I never gave up and believed in what I was doing. Once your limitations start to replace your goal, you know you need to redirect your attention on what you were aiming for. This often happens when I get discouraged, but as soon as I redirect my attention on my goal, I am back on track.

Gallerist Tatjana Pieters on art that represents ideals-Belgian Boutique

What’s your favourite work of art?

This is a difficult choice as it changes over the years, but often I am amazed by a work of art that comes out of a collective endeavor. Like Machu Picchu in Peru. Realizing that people worked together without any limits to create this mind blowing environment reminds us of what we are able to do when we collaborate and support each other. Although art can be an act of an individual when making or contemplating it, the overall connection it can bring forward, is, for me, the most rewarding thing.

Gallerist Tatjana Pieters on art that represents ideals-Belgian Boutique
Gallerist Tatjana Pieters on art that represents ideals-Belgian Boutique

Which Belgian talent should we feature on Belgian Boutique next? Why?

Marijke De Roover (1990), who is currently doing a residency at the Higher Institute of Fine Arts in Ghent. Her work talks about socio-political and active themes, like theatre in politics, religion, ecological living, and the nuclear family. It tackles those issues with the help of humorous and layered videos. She is influenced by musical theatre, youtube, social media, and the internet in general. By using these strategies her work reflects the spectacle society we live in. It is engaging, dynamic, and on point. That is due to her outspoken and genuine view.

Her latest work will be premiered at ISELP, Brussels.

Make sure to check out Tatjana Pieters Gallery’s booth at Art Brussels that starts 19-22 April


All pictures © Tatjana Pieters