Artful Venues with Ahu Büyükkuşoğlu Serter

Founders of Turkey’s first boutique art hotel Case Dell’ Arte, Ahu Büyükkuşoğlu Serter has developed the art collection that her parents started and brought it to this day. Aside from her engagement in art, Büyükkuşoğlu is also known with her success and entrepreneurship in the business world. We have asked her about her art collection, where and how she displays it, her boutique art hotel and her works that are displayed at the “Young Collectors” exhibition in Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art.

You are continuing and advancing a family tradition while living an artful life. What is your role in the family’s art collection and art ventures?

A long time ago my parents started our collection. My sister and I have become involved in it later on and we are keeping that in mind as we manage the collection. Instead of letting our personal tastes lead the collection’s direction, we conceive this process as a journey and make our acquisitions accordingly. We collaborate both in acquisitions and management of works.

What were your inspirations for the boutique art hotel that houses works from Büyükkuşoğlu Family Collection?
We wanted the hotel to have splendor and character, but also wanted to create a cozy Mediterranean atmosphere where one would feel at home. When my parents came to Torba many years ago, they were smitten. They built the small house next to the hotel and started to have their vacations here. With time, they agreed on moving to Torba for their retirement and realized that they were going to need a bigger place to spend the entire year, both the summer and winter. From here, the idea of Casa Dell’ Arte was born as a house where they would host their friends and share their art collection. That is the exact feeling I would like to maintain at the hotel.

What are some of artful venues that impress you the most?
Places where art outgrow the walls. For example the Venice Biennale where the entire city is colored by art, from churches to sidewalks, or the Guggenheim Bilbao, which changes the face of its city, are some of the places that captivate me.

What do you care about most when decorating your house?

I care most about comfort when decorating my house. My mom was very meticulous and during our childhood the cleanness and order of the house came before our comfort. We grew up not stepping on the carpets, not undoing the beds and without even seeing some of the rooms. I have three children and I did not want them to grow up the same way. That’s why when decorating my house it was important for me to be able to live in every part of the house. And comfort and functionality were my priorities.

What kind of decisions do you make when displaying the artworks? Do you ever change the design of the room according to the artworks?

I pay attention to not reducing the work of art into a decorative object. I do not have many furniture in my house, that is why the works we display do not have to compete with furniture or accessories to be seen, they are usually in the forefront. I can say that I decide on the places of artworks before make my decision on the furniture.

In the context of Art50’s project, we like to hear about experts’ views on emerging and young artists. We are curious to hear about your point of view as a collector.

What is the place of emerging and young artists in your collection? How do you discover such artists?

Young artists always had an important place in our collection. But I can say that with the inclusion of my sister and myself we started to focus more on this aspect of our collection. Because of my work I travel often and everywhere I go, I always visit the important art places in the city. In addition to that, I follow the art world very closely and I try to attend to international art fairs as much as I can make time. Through her job, my sister is very involved in art world. Since it has become so easy to access information, after a certain point we do not need to pay an extra effort to discover new artists.

Are you a part of any project to support young artists?

The CDA Projects that I started with my ex-partner Moiz Zilberman to support and represent young artists and their extra ordinary projects came to end an in the past days. It was the first channel through which we realized our efforts in supporting young artists. Though it is common nowadays, in those times I was not so easy for an unrecognized artist to be showcased in Mısır Apartment. In that same period we started a yearly art contest named “Young/New/Different” to provide visibility for young artists – which was also an out-of-the-box move for private sector.

Nowadays we are organizing an international artist residency program in Bodrum. We host artists for two terms of six weeks. In spite of its historical and cultural background Bodrum is yet undiscovered by artists. Our aims are to both reveal Bodrum’s potential and provide an art production space for artists one that is far away from daily worries, as well as connecting locals with every step of art production.

I like to talk about pieces from your collection that are on view at Elgiz Contemporary Art Museum in the exhibition titled “Young Collectors”. How did you decide on the pieces to be shown? What kind of a selection did you make from the artists in your collection?
For the exhibition in Elgiz there could have been made many other selections from our collection. But since I took place in the exhibition as an individual, I chose works that express my personal taste, talk to me the most and with whose artists I have a personal relationship.

Lastly, do you have any future projects in the field of art?

We certainly have new projects but our priority is to further develop what we are doing now and to put Bodrum on the map of international contemporary art world. Also to position our brand as a Turkey-born art brand. To keep hosting our guests in Casa Dell’ Arte which is similar to a stay-in museum that is a constantly updated art space, to professionalize our residency programs and make them reputable in the art world, and all the while keep supporting the growth of talented young artists are among our goals.

First piece you acquired: I bought a work by Sarah Pilkington from Marlborough Gallery.
The piece you would like to own the most: An Anselm Kiefer or a Gerhard Richter would not be so bad.
The type of art that intrigues you: Photography, installation and works produced with experimental techniques
The meaning of art for you: Life Vision

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