Two strong trends are shaping the future of the global art market: the increase in speed with which the art world moves and the globalization of the market. That is the view of Eugenio Re Rebaudengo, founder of online art platform ARTUNER.
“Thanks to the latest technology, people from every part of the world can become active players in the art market if they wish to do so,” he says. “Pdfs and jpegs have long substituted the physical encounter with an artwork in most of the cases and the various segments of the art market are now taking on the World Wide Web.
“Collectors are becoming faster, more informed and more impatient. If you are part of this market, you have to accept this and adapt to it.”
He sees art fairs playing an important transactional role as prime real estate in major art world metropolises becomes more and more expensive. He also anticipates that e-commerce platforms will continue to flourish, with an increased presence on the part of Christie’s and Sotheby’s, who seriously expanded their online capabilities in 2013.
ARTUNER is riding that wave, taking a slightly different approach from many online retailers in that it holds expertly curated exhibitions of both established and emerging artists, with plenty of supporting commentary and analysis.
“Being selective in regards to both artworks and artists that we have on display has been an important factor in our success,” he says. “Collaborating directly with artists allows us to personally vouch for the works on ARTUNER and take on an advisory role that many collectors find valuable.”
He says that creating curated shows has also proven to be an important part of the platform’s success.
“Working with curators and providing educational content not only about the works themselves but about important themes and topics that relate to the art on show sets us apart from other online art e-tailers who have more works but less of a focus,” he says.
“It also helps people better understand the artists and the practice of the artists who we show, giving them a better framework and contextualization. People find this educational approach to be desirable.”
The approach reflects Re Rebaudengo’s belief that the serious collector should acquire knowledge as well as art.
“One can only be as good of a collector as your knowledge, which doesn’t necessarily have to be of art historical nature, goes,” he says. “When you collect you evaluate, you assess and you question a certain object. Brian Eno once said that saying cultural objects are of value is like saying that two telephones have a conversation with each other – so you need knowledge and the understanding that stems from it to approach a cultural object.
“With ARTUNER I’m also trying to identify, introduce, and promote the most promising young artists to a wider general public,” adds Re Rebaudengo, who strongly believes in the importance of a cross generational approach.
“By contextualizing the art of younger artists by juxtaposing their work with the works of an older generation, a very exciting dialogue takes place, in which each party involved can potentially benefit from a new insight into their own praxis.”
When deciding to buy a piece of work, Re Rebaudengo believes that it is important to view yourself as the temporally host of that object, because in 99% of the cases that painting, sculpture, video or photograph will outlive you and be passed onto someone else.
“When you are reminded of this your perspective shifts and all of a sudden you as a collector become the primary point of focus: a secure investment becomes something that you feel most comfortable living with for the rest of your life,” he says.