“I let art choose me.” An interview with Mirna Funk

Mirna Funk’s first encounter with art took place in a museum in Berlin. At the Alte Nationalgalerie, her grandmother showed her a portrait of Mirna’s great-great-grandmother, Lola Leder, who had been painted by Max Liebermann several times. "It must have been the 90s, if I remember correctly," Mirna says. "It was such a weird moment to be standing there in this huge museum, seeing my great-great-grandmother hanging on the wall." It was also her grandmother who told Mirna about her great-great-grandparents' lives as patrons of the arts and collectors.

Many years later, Mirna started her own collection: "I was dating an English artist who was really successful at the time, and he gave me my first art piece." Slowly but surely, she got more engaged, understood the art world, and met artists and gallerists, especially in Tel Aviv, where she spends half of her time.

Mirna has selected works by some of her favorite artists for a curated online booth on misa.art. In the following interview, you'll learn more about what matters to her in art and about her approach to collecting.

Navot Miller, Christian and Venco and the former post office on Tucholskystraße, 2021

 

Can you tell us something about yourself and your connection to art?

I love art and I hate art. It is an emotionally pretty strong connection. I started collecting art 15 years ago. Now I have a small but beautiful collection at my home. My great-great-grandparents were art collectors. Unfortunately, most of the artworks of the collection got lost during World War II as they were Jewish.

How do you mostly engage with art? Online or offline?

Both. I visit galleries and art museums wherever I travel to, but I also follow artists on Instagram who catch my eye.

What does an artwork need to spark your interest? How do you decide to buy a work?

I love this question. I always say it needs to be “broadcast”. I have a very intuitive approach to the world, my own writing, and art in general. When I stand in front of an artwork, I try to get into some meditative state of mind and actually feel the art. If it changes me inside, if it touches me emotionally, if it makes me think and see the world differently, then I consider it “broadcasting art”. I would only buy it if it speaks to me.

Dudy Dayan, Untitled, 2009

 

Could you describe the process a little bit? How did you choose the artworks and do you have a personal connection to all of the artists?

I do have a personal connection to most of the artists whose artworks I own. Not all. But most. Sometimes I meet an artist, like Marianna Simnett, and I feel a certain presence. I didn’t know her art before I met her. So, after the meeting, I looked into her work and decided to buy something. This time it was both; she as a person broadcasted and her artworks broadcasted too.

But I mostly let faith choose. Like I am never “looking for” art. I browse, I wander around, I am open to whom I meet. Basically, I do let art choose me, not the other way around.

What is it about the works you chose for this booth that speaks to you?

I love sensuality. I love it in people. I love it in art. This is why I would say most of the artists and works I chose and who were open to participating are pretty sensual. I like warmth, strength, and sensuality, and I do think that all artworks deliver these things.

You have a great love of fashion. Do you think that affects your view of or your taste in art?

I honestly don’t care about fashion. I know it looks like I do, but I care about aesthetics. There is a huge difference. For example, I am only able to write in a very particular environment. My apartment is super neat, very aesthetic, and quite balanced. There is a calmness I need and therefore create around me, that helps me get in touch with the world. I like to step outside of the borders of my own body and become one with the world around me, but in order to do this, the outside needs to be open, friendly, and welcoming. It can’t be chaotic, or unbalanced, or harsh. There is a very particular kind of harmony that needs to be around me, based on form and color and texture, that allows me to do what I like the most: completely dissolve. So this harmony will always be found in art I buy, I select or I enjoy.

Do you think there is a female way of collecting art? Do female collectors play a particular role in the art world?

Well, I don’t think so. I really don’t. I think collecting art and moving through the art world is based on your human and individual way of thinking and feeling. And regarding women in the art world, I think it is a matter of money and confidence. The more you are financially independent and independent as a mind, the more you are open to entering the art world and moving freely in it. Just like in any other field.

Is there anything you would like to change about the art world?

I strongly believe in change as a natural process. I oppose change through imposed standards. We as humans are constantly changing, the world is constantly changing and everything will change the way it should at the right time and the right pace. This means that we are not moving towards some kind of utopia. I am not Christian, I am Jewish. I concentrate on real life, not on the afterlife. And I understand that we are humans. And humans have flaws. We are good and bad at the same time. All of us. This means that we will create good and bad. Therefore, every process of change will consist of both good and bad. No matter what.

 

BIO

Mirna Funk (b. 1981 in Berlin) majored in Philosophy and History at Humboldt University. For her current Master’s studies, she holds a scholarship from the Ernst Ludwig Ehrlich Studienwerk (ELES).

She is the author of the novels WINTERNÄHE (2015, Uwe Johnson Prize for emerging writers), and ZWISCHEN DU UND ICH (2021) and has recently completed her first non-fiction book WHO CARES! VON DER FREIHEIT, FRAU ZU SEIN (2022).

As a journalist, she contributes articles and essays about her life between Berlin and Tel Aviv to Emotion, Myself, Cosmopolitan, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Die Zeit, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, and Monopol. With a personal perspective on contemporary Jewish life, she educates through talks, panels, curation, and workshops. She also hosts a podcast about Jewish life in Germany for the association 1700 Jahre

 

 

Please click HERE to visit the online booth Mirna Funk has curated for misa.art.

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