Special Presentation Best of Graduates Legacy – 25 Years of Galerie Ron Mandos during Art Rotterdam 2024
Galerie Ron Mandos is celebrating its 25th anniversary at Art Rotterdam 2024 and sparing no expenses with Best of Graduates Legacy – 25 Years of Galerie Ron Mandos, showcasing 25 young artists who have participated in the Best of Graduates programme at the gallery over the past five years. In addition to serving as a springboard for emerging talent, Galerie Ron Mandos represents over 30 renowned artists, including Isaac Julien, Hans Op de Beeck, Esiri Erheriene-Essi, Mohau Modisakeng and Atelier van Lieshout. Together with the founder and driving force behind the gallery, Ron Mandos, Art Rotterdam is highlighting this milestone achievement. We also look forward to the large-scale booth that will be on display during Art Rotterdam, featuring a special design by Tom Postma Design. Mandos comments, “The art world has no future without young talent. This is why I think that fostering the career development of young artists is so important.”
It’s been 25 years since you started Galerie Ron Mandos. Congratulations on this impressive milestone. The gallery is now internationally recognised. What, in your opinion, is the formula for success?
The key to success lies in my complete dedication to art, something I personally believe in wholeheartedly. I don’t let trends or famous names influence me. My approach involves showcasing an engaging mix of established artists and emerging talent. Even the renowned artists I represent, such as Hans Op de Beeck and Isaac Julien, appreciate that I actively invest in emerging artists. Perhaps because they also teach at academies.
From the moment someone enters my gallery to when the artwork is delivered to the buyer’s home, excellent service is paramount. Presentation and content also take centre stage because buyers need the space to emotionally connect with an artwork.
Perhaps most importantly, my artists always come first. I work day and night for them. Throughout the year, we participate in seven to eight international fairs, providing them with a global platform and constantly challenging them to create their best work. At the same time, I give them the freedom to develop special presentations. My gallery began in Rotterdam as a project space, inspired by the Chambre d’Amis of the renowned Belgian curator and museum director Jan Hoet, who invited artists to present art in a domestic setting. This inspiration continues to guide me in giving artists the freedom to fully transform my gallery into their artistic world.
What was your goal in establishing the Best of Graduates in 2008?
The primary goal is to provide a platform for young artistic talent to develop further. The art world has no future without young talent. This is why I think that fostering the career development of young artists is so important. Since 2008, my gallery team and curator Radek Vana have travelled to all art academies in the Netherlands to view graduation projects. We bring the most innovative presentations from Groningen to Maastricht to Amsterdam to showcase to a wide audience. That’s why I founded the Young Blood Foundation in 2018, so we can continue the development of young artists. Every year, Joop van Caldenborgh, founder of Museum Voorlinden, presents the Young Blood Award to an artist whose work becomes part of the permanent collection.
During Art Rotterdam 2024, you are putting 25 artists from the Best of Graduates of the past five years in the spotlight. Can you elaborate on all or a few of these artists and their work?
Our Best of Graduates Legacy at Art Rotterdam includes a diverse mix of artists, as is customary in a Best of Graduates presentation. We are showcasing, among other things, new paintings by Matias Salgado (Young Blood Award winner in 2023), sculptures by Bart Pols (Best of Graduates 2021), video artwork by Thom van Rijckevorsel (Best of Graduates 2019), textile work by Marcos Kueh (Young Blood Award winner in 2022) and ceramic work by Anni Mertens (Best of Graduates 2019). I would like to emphasise the versatility of these artists. It inspires me every day how these artists can be so innovative with different techniques.
Can you give us a sneak peek of the booth presentation during Art Rotterdam?
It promises to be a surprising presentation. Together with the director, Fons Hof, we have decided on a special booth that is larger than usual. We plan to create a booth measuring 100 square metres, a real gift for the young artists we are spotlighting. The design is by Tom Postma and his fantastic team, who always create stunning designs for leading fairs such as Art Basel and Tefaf. The booth clearly reflects Postma’s high-quality design and the varied art of the young creators.
What sets Art Rotterdam apart from other fairs that Galerie Ron Mandos participates in? What developments have you noticed in the Rotterdam art scene?
Rotterdam is my hometown, so to me, Art Rotterdam feels like coming home. My gallery opened 25 years ago in Rotterdam and from the very beginning, we have been closely affiliated to this fair. It is sometimes said that Rotterdam works hard while Amsterdam spends money, but fortunately, we are seeing a change here. Over the years, beautiful new initiatives have emerged, such as BRUTUS, where art creators get carte blanche to experiment. For a few years now, there has been a collaboration with the Ron Mandos Young Blood Foundation, which selects an artist every year who can then work in this fascinating art setting. Also, the various initiatives at Art Rotterdam, such as Prospects, which annually showcases over 80 artists who have received financial support from the Mondriaan Fund, are a beautiful example of a platform for emerging talent during the fair. And new galleries will be participating in the New Art Section, which spotlights young artists. Through such initiatives, Rotterdam continues to position itself as a vibrant creative city that is continuously evolving. Art Rotterdam makes an essential contribution to this.
Best of Graduates Legacy – 25 Years of Galerie Ron Mandos will be on display during Art Rotterdam at the Van Nelle Factory from 1-4 February 2024, with a private preview on 31 January.
Best of Graduates Legacy is generously supported by Art Rotterdam, Vormmakers, Tom Postma and the VandenEnde Foundation.
Written by Pienk de Gaay Fortman