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In 'Dialogue' 
interview with gallerist
Anja Brinckmann
by Hazel Clarke 

PHOTO-2024-01-30-15-26-16_edited_edited.png Gallerist Anja Brinkmann featured in contemporary art magazine THE GAZE

“I want to help artists get their art out of the ateliers where it is hidden and not seen.” 

Sunny days seem to be synonymous with art interview days, no matter what time of the year.  A cold winter’s day in late January heeded the command and provided the requisite sunshine for my interview with gallerist Anja Brinckmann, founder of the Anja Edith Brinkmann Gallery in Basel, Switzerland.

Anja Edith Brinckmann Gallery, Neuweilerstrasse 11, CH 4054, Basel, Switzerland

Screenshot 2024-02-12 at 19.11_edited.jpg The Anja Brinkmann Gallery, Basel featured in contemporary art magazine THE GAZE

Born in south Germany and a relative newbie to the gallery scene in Basel, Brinckmann has already notched up a number of successful shows and at the time of our meeting is heading towards an exciting new exhibition that promises and enchanting mix of artistic styles. 

 

I’m keen to get the inside story on her journey towards setting up a new gallery in the busy art environment that is Basel. So computer and recording equipment at the ready, we render-vous for what will be a stimulating conversation.

The hipster Martini bar in downtown Basel, is the setting for the tete-a-tete with the elegant Brinckmann, during which she shares her motivations, inspirations and learns. It’s a candid account that provides a glimpse into her entrepreneurial spirit and the organic nature of her leap into the art world.

Early years

Her memories of growing up in South Germany reveal some of the childhood influences that left a profound impact on her artistic sensibilities, laying the foundations for her future involvement in the art world.

 

“My early exposure to the art world, said Brinckmann, "was through my mother who ran a gallery and hosted artistic events in the family home. Our ‘art salon' exposed me to paintings, book readings and other artistic disciplines. At some stage, she continued, "I thought I wanted to study art myself but I didn’t dare.” she exclaims.

From boarding school to university, Brinckmann transitioned into studying and working in commercial law adding flying lessons and writing children’s literature to her bow.  Each chapter offered a different city setting including Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich and San Fransisco, and has contributed to her multidimensional approach to the arts.    

  

Her strong affinity for both solitude and bringing people together, are helpful character traits for a gallerist and have seemingly served Brinckmann well. This duality, she tells me, has shaped her ethos and curatorial direction, emphasising in particular her focus on creating opportunities for people to meet and experience art. 

2251_edited.jpg works by Alexander Manuel featured in contemporary art mamgzine THE GAZE

Fast forward

Fast-forward to  more recent times we discuss her decision to set up her gallery in Basel. I discover that this move was influenced by a series of events, including a desire for change from her surroundings in Bremen and the opportunity presented by her husband's job offer in Basel. 

“We were living in Bremen and I had an art salon in our house. We had wonderful friends, but we needed a change.  I wanted to come back down south.”

 

Credit: Alexandre Manuel

There was a sense of serendipity, as she stumbled upon an open space for rent in Basel, which ultimately led to the establishment of the Anja Edith Brinckmann Gallery. “It’s not that we really wanted to go to Basel but Basel chose us.”  Within two-and-a-half hours of seeing an empty space near to where we lived, I had the room and the artists lined up. I just went for it.”  

 

 “It wasn’t necessarily my dream, she continues. "I was simply convinced it would work out.  I didn’t hesitate, I just followed my instincts.“

We move on to discuss her artistic programme and her choice of artists.   Originally, she had the intention of bringing her artists from Bremen and Hamburg.  But soon she realised that not being from Basel and having few connections in the city made attracting visitors into the gallery extremely difficult. She therefore switched path to show local artists. 

 

“I started to concentrate on artists from Basel and that changed everything. I found  local artists on the internet or through submissions and  of course they brought their friends and family.  It was important however for me to visit them in their ateliers and for their art to convince me,” she affirms. 

5547_edited.jpg works by Alexandre Manuel featured in contemporary art magazine THE GAZE

Credit: Alexandre Manuel

She carries this philosophy through to her current and future exhibitions for which she continues to pair Swiss artists with practitioners from outside the country and most recently from Portugal and Germany.

ff4101e7-aa2b-426f-a42e-62f9884d808b-1_edited.jpg works by Peter Gospodinov featured in contemporary art magazine THE GAZE

Credit: Peter Gospodinov

Brinckmann moves on to discuss her artistic preferences, including a fondness for surrealism, as well as figurative and abstract art. “Dialogue” my latest  show, touches me twofold through the serenity of the photography and the fieriness of the paintings. And I’m hoping it will have the same impact on others who visit,” she exclaims.  

 

She expands on her commitment to fostering a dynamic and inclusive artistic programme, stating her dedication to helping artists gain exposure.

“ I want to help artists get their art out of the ateliers where it is hidden and not seen.”  

The future unfolds

She shares with me her keenest to offer holistic experiences that combine art and healing -  by the way Brinckmann is a qualified in shamanic healer -  as well as theatre and readings to help the gallery become better known. As a small independent gallerist, Brinckmann is exploring alternative gallery models such as pop-up events, workshops, coaching and writing in addition to the art healing practice to ensure she can continue to help communities engage with art well into the future.  

Her forward-thinking vision and adaptive mindset shines through during our fascinating discussion and I am sure she will achieve her goals tenfold.

Read THE GAZE Editor's Blog  
for a sneak preview of Brinckmann's latest show 'Dialogue'.

'Dialogue'
Brinckmann's current show runs until 22 March 2024
At the Anja Edith Brinckmann Gallery

Neuweilerstrasse 11, CH 4054, Basel

Opening hours: Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 15.00-18.00, Saturday 11.00-15.00

By appointment at any time. Tel: +41 76 818 47 57

Email:brinckmann@galeriebasel.ch. Website: brinckmanngaleriebasel.ch

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