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Women
  • INT XXS XS S M L XL
    Poitrine
    (cm)
    74
    à
    77
    78
    à
    81
    82
    à
    85
    86
    à
    89
    90
    à
    93
    94
    à
    97
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    62
    63
    à
    66
    67
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    71
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    78
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    Hanches
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    à
    86
    87
    à
    90
    91
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    94
    95
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    98
    99
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    102
    103
    à
    107
  • INT XXS XS S M L XL
    GER 32 34 36 38 40 42
    US 0-2 4 6 8 10 12
    UK 6 8 10 12 14 16
    ITA 38 40 42 44 46 48
    FRA 34 36 38 40 42 44
    JAP 5 7 9 11 13 15
Men
  • INT XS S M L XL XXL
    Poitrine
    (cm)
    86
    à
    89
    90
    à
    93
    94
    à
    97
    98
    à
    101
    102
    à
    105
    106
    à
    109
    Taille
    (cm)
    73
    à
    76
    77
    à
    80
    81
    à
    84
    85
    à
    88
    89
    à
    92
    93
    à
    96
    Hanches
    (cm)
    87
    à
    90
    91
    à
    94
    95
    à
    98
    99
    à
    102
    103
    à
    106
    107
    à
    109
  • INT XS S M L XL XXL
    GER 44 46 48 50 52 54
    US 34 36 38 40 42 44
    UK 34 36 38 40 42 44
    ITA 44 46 48 50 52 54
    FRA 38 40 42 44 46 48
    JAP 1 2 3 4 5 6
  • CM 72 77 82 87 92
    INCH 28 30 32 34 36

    (Valeur approx.)

A day in Berlin

Johann König x CLOSED

with

Johann König

Johann König x CLOSED
Johann König x CLOSED

The gallerist of the future

From the day Johann König opened his gallery a good twenty years ago when he was 21, he has devoted himself to modernising the art sector with a wealth of ideas. He wants to show that you can engage with art without having expert knowledge – and, as the scion of an art family, he quite simply wants to share his love of art with as many people as possible. We chat to him about new directions in a long-established industry.

Text and interview by Laura Reinke
Photography by Patrick Desbrosses, Friends of Friends

Johann König x CLOSED
Johann König x CLOSED
Johann König x CLOSED

The
Interview

As a gallerist you are constantly coming up with new ideas on how to democratise the art market and the entire industry. Why is this so important for you?

I am fortunate to have grown up surrounded by art and I experienced just how much value it added to my life. I want to share that with others, to allow them to experience how rewarding it is. I believe that art can be as much a focal point in our lives as literature, music, dance, fashion and other forms of culture. Fine art, contemporary art, has become more important in the broader public sphere in recent years – and I believe it can become much broader. Recently, for example, the Global Art Market Report by Art Basel and UBS showed that millennials are more open to the idea of monetary engagement. The art market has been a bit of a closed shop for a long time. I want to open it up and kindle a new awareness.

What has been the most effective method so far?

The most effective method is to talk about art, to be approachable, to explain how the mechanisms and the system work. We focus particularly on how best to open up art for people who are not second-generation art collectors and know exactly what they are doing because they learned from their parents. To accomplish this, it is really important to share knowledge and make people understand that there is no such thing as a stupid question. Other important factors include providing transparent, broad opportunities and implementing cooperations to break through into related fields of interest. Naturally, we want to sell art, but I would like to emphasise that this approach isn’t a marketing strategy but is instead driven by the recognition that there is a deficit in the way people are approached and addressed.

How can galleries best respond to this?

Galleries need to position themselves differently, because there is definitely an inhibition threshold. Many people avoid going into a gallery because they believe they will be expected to buy something. As people who exhibit art, that is something we need to work on. The most important thing would be to do lots of things online, because the inhibition threshold is much lower. At the same time, I always encourage artists to use social media and websites to present their art to a broad audience instead of waiting for someone to come along and exhibit their art. On the website Artfacts, which collects global data on the primary art market, more than 700,000 artists are listed and only 7000 galleries. That’s crazy because it clearly shows that very little art actually passes through the gallery bottleneck – so one is forced to look for alternatives to the conventional system. It’s an exciting period and it is essential that we take new paths. That’s why we set up MISA as a platform to give young artists the opportunity to exhibit and sell artworks physically at the art market MISA and online on misa.art. Under the name GLOBAL GALLERY: KÖNIG x PORSCHE, we also experimented with an out-of-home campaign which shows artworks by digital artists on projection surfaces in underground stations or iconic billboards like Times Square or Shibuya Crossing, so taking art out of the conventional gallery setting.

It sounds like you’ve always thought outside the box…

No, it took me a while to get to the point where I would question why something is the way it is – and then to question these issues through my work. The simple fact that galleries do not advertise the prices of artworks is something that bothered me for many years. If you pluck up the courage to enquire about the price, only to find that it’s way beyond your means, you’re inevitably going to be disappointed. But back then I didn’t have the courage to do things differently. Only once I had started to establish myself did I start to question established mechanisms.
The art market may be progressive in terms of its subject matter, but it is profoundly conservative in its systematics. Few things are questioned or openly explained. But things are changing: the machine learning app Limna estimates the prices of artworks based on the artist’s name and the size of the picture, and helps to gauge gallery prices. These developments – the NFT phenomenon, along with artists being able to publish and sell directly online, just like individuals can resell art themselves –, are the start of a revolution in the art market and are having an impact on the classical art scene.

What have you got planned next?

We’re really into NFT at the moment – identifying great pieces that are worth showing and selling. Also we’re looking hard at how art can be tokenised and fractionalised, in other words, how can you invest in Blue Chips, i.e. outstanding works by world-famous artists, without having to buy the entire picture. Works like these are out of the reach of most people, either because they are prohibitively expensive or because you cannot access them. On the other hand, nobody knows how young works will develop and yet they still require a substantial investment. That’s why we’re working on allowing people to invest in artworks, which can be purchased through our online platform misa.art just like stocks and shares.

So what does the art scene think of the idea?

Many people have criticised me for this, saying that I’m turning art into a financial product. But that’s rubbish because it has an effect on me. Since I started investing in shares, I have been interested in how sustainable particular shares are, or how the automotive industry is approaching the issue of electric mobility, etcetera. It’s similar with art: people will start taking an interest in art if their money is involved. You read up on the latest trends, find out what makes prices go up, discover new artists. It annoys me that the art industry finds it so difficult to talk openly about investments, and acts as if it isn’t the case. It is incredibly exhausting – because of course art is an investment, and that is precisely one of the points that interests young target audiences. Isn’t it better to invest in something beautiful that enriches your life than in an ETF? Just because someone buys and sells art doesn’t mean that they don’t appreciate it.

Which skills will tomorrow’s gallerists need?

I believe that we have built that gallery of the future in MISA. We exhibit a curated but sizable preselection of artists and artworks – and we provide all the necessary tools, such as a general price range or ranking, to let people form their own opinion. I think that’s incredibly important, because what I don’t like about the conventional art market is that so often it claims the high ground – it says, “I’ll tell you what’s good and you can buy something from within that range.” That is too narrow-minded. People are more competent than some others give them credit for, and they are perfectly capable of making their own decisions. What is important is to give them all the necessary information.

What are your top tips for people who want to start collecting art?

You should always follow your own interests and tastes. Then take a closer look: is that really something I like, or is it perhaps just a copy of something I may like even better? Our aim with MISA is to help people judge this for themselves without having to rely on someone to tell them what’s wrong or right. It is important to be able to have access to information, also so that you can check whether it is worth the price and whether that price is reasonable. With other luxury goods – and let’s face it, art belongs in that category – you would always do that before deciding to buy something.

What’s the best thing about your job?

The very best thing is that I get to try out new things all the time. The art sector has an inflated sense of self-importance, but in the overall structure of culture and business, it plays only a tiny role. It’s met with a lot of incomprehension and also with advance praise – and I see tremendous potential there.

As a gallerist you are constantly coming up with new ideas on how to democratise the art market and the entire industry. Why is this so important for you?

I am fortunate to have grown up surrounded by art and I experienced just how much value it added to my life. I want to share that with others, to allow them to experience how rewarding it is. I believe that art can be as much a focal point in our lives as literature, music, dance, fashion and other forms of culture. Fine art, contemporary art, has become more important in the broader public sphere in recent years – and I believe it can become much broader. Recently, for example, the Global Art Market Report by Art Basel and UBS showed that millennials are more open to the idea of monetary engagement. The art market has been a bit of a closed shop for a long time. I want to open it up and kindle a new awareness.

What has been the most effective method so far?

The most effective method is to talk about art, to be approachable, to explain how the mechanisms and the system work. We focus particularly on how best to open up art for people who are not second-generation art collectors and know exactly what they are doing because they learned from their parents. To accomplish this, it is really important to share knowledge and make people understand that there is no such thing as a stupid question. Other important factors include providing transparent, broad opportunities and implementing cooperations to break through into related fields of interest. Naturally, we want to sell art, but I would like to emphasise that this approach isn’t a marketing strategy but is instead driven by the recognition that there is a deficit in the way people are approached and addressed.

How can galleries best respond to this?

Galleries need to position themselves differently, because there is definitely an inhibition threshold. Many people avoid going into a gallery because they believe they will be expected to buy something. As people who exhibit art, that is something we need to work on. The most important thing would be to do lots of things online, because the inhibition threshold is much lower. At the same time, I always encourage artists to use social media and websites to present their art to a broad audience instead of waiting for someone to come along and exhibit their art. On the website Artfacts, which collects global data on the primary art market, more than 700,000 artists are listed and only 7000 galleries. That’s crazy because it clearly shows that very little art actually passes through the gallery bottleneck – so one is forced to look for alternatives to the conventional system. It’s an exciting period and it is essential that we take new paths. That’s why we set up MISA as a platform to give young artists the opportunity to exhibit and sell artworks physically at the art market MISA and online on misa.art. Under the name GLOBAL GALLERY: KÖNIG x PORSCHE, we also experimented with an out-of-home campaign which shows artworks by digital artists on projection surfaces in underground stations or iconic billboards like Times Square or Shibuya Crossing, so taking art out of the conventional gallery setting.

It sounds like you’ve always thought outside the box…

No, it took me a while to get to the point where I would question why something is the way it is – and then to question these issues through my work. The simple fact that galleries do not advertise the prices of artworks is something that bothered me for many years. If you pluck up the courage to enquire about the price, only to find that it’s way beyond your means, you’re inevitably going to be disappointed. But back then I didn’t have the courage to do things differently. Only once I had started to establish myself did I start to question established mechanisms.

The art market may be progressive in terms of its subject matter, but it is profoundly conservative in its systematics. Few things are questioned or openly explained. But things are changing: the machine learning app Limna estimates the prices of artworks based on the artist’s name and the size of the picture, and helps to gauge gallery prices. These developments – the NFT phenomenon, along with artists being able to publish and sell directly online, just like individuals can resell art themselves –, are the start of a revolution in the art market and are having an impact on the classical art scene.

What have you got planned next?

We’re really into NFT at the moment – identifying great pieces that are worth showing and selling. Also we’re looking hard at how art can be tokenised and fractionalised, in other words, how can you invest in Blue Chips, i.e. outstanding works by world-famous artists, without having to buy the entire picture. Works like these are out of the reach of most people, either because they are prohibitively expensive or because you cannot access them. On the other hand, nobody knows how young works will develop and yet they still require a substantial investment. That’s why we’re working on allowing people to invest in artworks, which can be purchased through our online platform misa.art just like stocks and shares.

So what does the art scene think of the idea?

Many people have criticised me for this, saying that I’m turning art into a financial product. But that’s rubbish because it has an effect on me. Since I started investing in shares, I have been interested in how sustainable particular shares are, or how the automotive industry is approaching the issue of electric mobility, etcetera. It’s similar with art: people will start taking an interest in art if their money is involved. You read up on the latest trends, find out what makes prices go up, discover new artists. It annoys me that the art industry finds it so difficult to talk openly about investments, and acts as if it isn’t the case. It is incredibly exhausting – because of course art is an investment, and that is precisely one of the points that interests young target audiences. Isn’t it better to invest in something beautiful that enriches your life than in an ETF? Just because someone buys and sells art doesn’t mean that they don’t appreciate it.

Which skills will tomorrow’s gallerists need?

I believe that we have built that gallery of the future in MISA. We exhibit a curated but sizable preselection of artists and artworks – and we provide all the necessary tools, such as a general price range or ranking, to let people form their own opinion. I think that’s incredibly important, because what I don’t like about the conventional art market is that so often it claims the high ground – it says, “I’ll tell you what’s good and you can buy something from within that range.” That is too narrow-minded. People are more competent than some others give them credit for, and they are perfectly capable of making their own decisions. What is important is to give them all the necessary information.

What are your top tips for people who want to start collecting art?

You should always follow your own interests and tastes. Then take a closer look: is that really something I like, or is it perhaps just a copy of something I may like even better? Our aim with MISA is to help people judge this for themselves without having to rely on someone to tell them what’s wrong or right. It is important to be able to have access to information, also so that you can check whether it is worth the price and whether that price is reasonable. With other luxury goods – and let’s face it, art belongs in that category – you would always do that before deciding to buy something.

What’s the best thing about your job?

The very best thing is that I get to try out new things all the time. The art sector has an inflated sense of self-importance, but in the overall structure of culture and business, it plays only a tiny role. It’s met with a lot of incomprehension and also with advance praise – and I see tremendous potential there.

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Johann König x CLOSED

Johann König

Johann König

Johann König x CLOSED
Johann König x CLOSED

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Hard Copy 15: Heart Copy is out now

Johann König x CLOSED

HEART COPY is out now! Titled “On Arts & Hearts”, our latest issue collects many beautiful stories about love – and art. Find our beautiful spring campaign (a love story, shot in Portugal), some secret tips for happy relationships and so much more in our new magazine. HEART COPY is complimentary with every online shop order, just tick the box. Happy reading!

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