"Here art comes directly to the viewer"
Renzo A. Berger is responsible for the
Deutsche Bank Collection in Zurich. For him working with art is of
central importance which he manages in addition to his main duties as
Managing Director (Private Wealth Management). Just before Christmas he
led Andre Rogger through the five floors of the stately building from
the 1870s at the Zurich train station and commented on his work and his
personal love for art.
Renzo A. Berger and Dr. Ariane Grigotait
©Gaechter + Clahsen
Andre Rogger: Mr. Berger, isn't it right that you
are responsible for the art collection of the Deutsche Bank in Zurich.
What are your duties?
Renzo Berger: As a member of the Art
Commission of the Deutsche Bank I acquire and manage the art for our
collection in Zurich. I place them in the offices and conference rooms
of the Swiss branch and lend works for outside exhibitions when requests
Rogger: How large are the holdings in Zurich in
comparison to the entire collection of the Deutsche Bank? What are your
Berger: In comparison to the entire
collection of the Deutsche Bank encompassing around 50,000 works, the
holdings in Switzerland are of course relatively small. In our space in
Zurich we have collected a few hundred artworks. Ninety percent of the
selection is concentrated around the works of Swiss artists, and the
rest come from the surrounding German-speaking areas.
and water-colors, collages as well as mixed media works, but also
graphics and photography, document the multiplicity of media in artistic
work on paper, a genre which is an emphasis in our collection. In
addition there are also individual sculptures and even installations in
our collection. By the way, video is not yet represented as a media, but
perhaps this will change in the near future.
We don't have a
fixed itinerary for the collection in our house. The artworks will be
primarily exhibited in the rooms for clients and our principle is to
only collect the work of a single artist in each room. However many
individual pieces are exhibited in the offices of our co-workers.
Rogger: What relations do
you cultivate with the Swiss art scene? And what are your criteria for
selecting new pieces?
Berger: In close cooperation with
our colleague Dr. Ariane Grigoteit in Frankfurt, we are in close contact
with galleries, museum and curators in Zurich. Individual concepts and
collections for all other outside locations are created through the
cooperation with the Art Department of the Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt,
together thez creat a whole. Through its funded purchase strategy, the
Deutsche Bank has become one of the largest collectors of modern art
The open concept of collecting contemporary art does
not place the same demands of a museum on our works, our focus is on
artistic statement and its ability to engage in a direct dialogue with
the viewer, either through clients or colleagues.
Do you have personal preferences within the collection of the Deutsche
Bank in Zurich? Or a favorite piece?
Berger: I am
personally very interested in photography. The minimal austerity of
black and white photos of city landscapes in North America by
Balthasar Burkhard, for example, I find intriguing. I have also started my
own small collection, because regardless of how strong
desert images are at first glance, they somehow unleash a hidden emotional
potential in the viewer. The Italian
Arte Povera and the British-American
Land Art are very close to my heart, since – like photography – they take
their point of departure form nature which they place in a new light. I
also place great importance on acquiring a piece by
Roman Signer for the Deutsche Bank. I find the great humor with which
Signer stages his artistic interventions to be most compelling.
Balthasar Burkhard: Berg, 1994
Deutsche Bank Collection, © Balthasar Burkhard
Rogger: Do you see a local
emphasis as part of your strategy for the financial center in Zurich?
Berger: No. We're collecting Swiss artists in support of a generalized
strategy of a worldwide anchoring of the Deutsch Bank art collection.