Art Market: Hello, Paula! It's a pleasure having you here. Before we hear all about your activity in the contemporary art field, let's talk about where the passion for art came from.
Paula Domzalski: I come from a very art-interested environment. My mother was a professional opera singer, an art lover, and a poetry writer. My father was a scientist and a businessman. Funnily enough, it was more my father who pushed me gently towards art when I was deciding on my studies. He came from a very cultured Eastern European background, was extremely knowledgeable and interested in History, and loved challenging me on all things, Contemporary Art! Both collected art from contemporary European emerging artists, but just out of love for the work. Not as professional collectors. My first visits to artists' studios was with them.
A.M.: How would you describe your work in the art field?
P.D.: I am an advisor, muse, consultant, curator, agent, manager, facilitator, and philosophical shoulder to cry on! I am today, I suppose, the culmination of decades of experience working in many areas of the contemporary art world. I don't really define myself, but I guess you could say I am a gallerist in the old-fashioned sense of the word, but without a fixed gallery space! I have a passion for contemporary art, and even when I do other things professionally, I almost ache for it when it's not present in my life. After university, where I studied Art History in Munich and Paris, I emerged into a completely different art world from today. A global art market just didn't exist in the early '80s. It's a very small nucleus was between Germany and the U.S. Not that many Fairs, huge snobbery, and undeniably elitism. You learned by doing. Everybody knew of each other.
It was exhilarating but in Germany very rigid and not very friendly. Money did not play a role.
You just didn't expect to make any in contemporary art! For that, you had to be a dealer in the Classics. In contemporary art in those days in central Europe, it was considered vaguely vulgar and uncreative to concentrate on Mammon! The Americans changed all that. They democratized the art world. And let money in! I thought, at the time, that that was marvelous.
So, just out of Uni, I started doing pop up shows in my apartment's big hallway. I didn't want to be just one thing, I wanted to experience the Whole. All my friends and associates were either artists or, in some way, connected to the creative world. It was natural for me to curate, produce art magazines, write, produce art books, set up cultural projects, represent artists, and advise (what hybris!). I was in effect, creating and setting the road map for my future way of working. I still do all these things, building pipelines of interest between artists, patrons, and audience, widening the aperture of access and interest in an artist's work. A lot of artists fold in on themselves when they have to promote themselves.
That's when I step in. I hope that my advice to my artists is a little more founded than it was all those years ago! Also, today, I create and produce concepts for art projects with artists that I don't manage, and here I don't concentrate on emerging artists alone.
A.M.: Do you consider yourself an artist?
P.D.: I consider myself to be creative, both in business and in my decision-making. I have been involved in or part of creative processes all my life. It's what feeds me and keeps me going. I am lucky in that I can help facilitate and manage creative processes with artists and additionally have a company where I can design and channel my own creative needs. I co-founded a high-end design jewelry brand based in London and Istanbul in 2007. Since then, I have been defining the brand's position, marketing, and strategic development whilst co-designing the annual collections.
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Issue #49 July 2020