Diego Trulls and Gabriel Werthein have taken the democratization of art a step forward. The former is a web designer and the latter, an art collector. Both are Argentinean. For the last year they have been offering the public free and legal downloads of original contemporary artworks. The experiment is called Coleccionarte (www.coleccionarte.org), and the pair began it together with prominent artists from Argentina.
Recently, though, Trulls has visited the Arco contemporary art fair in Madrid where he chose new works from young Spanish and international artists to add to the site.
The project allows anyone to become a collector: you choose your favorite images, download them, share them, carry them around on your cellphone or computer or print them out and hang them in your house.
Coleccionarte has a permanent link on Sin Título, EL PAÍS’ art blog (http://blogs.elpais.com/sin-titulo/), where every month it will provide readers with two new high-resolution works of art that can be printed out up to a size of 30 x 40 centimeters.
“Coleccionarte was born a year ago with Argentinean artists with whom I was in contact through my web-design work,” says Trulls. “Without thinking about it I began my own collections by exchanging our work with different creators [a digital work in exchange for designing a page for an artist] and I soon realized I was surrounded by works of art. And without any money involved.”
Coleccionarte is designed to be digital, he says. “The work is created digitally, distributed digitally and then each person decides what exactly they want to do with it.”
In order to get the project going it was necessary to find a sponsor. The collector Gabriel Werthein showed enthusiasm for the project.
“My story began with an Argentinean gallery owner called Ruth Benzacar,” he says. “She gave me my first painting, a work by the young Guillermo Kuitca, which I still have.”
He now has pieces by Antonio Berni, Mondongo, Carlos Amorales, Diego Singh, Cy Twombly and Francesco Clemente, among others — a collection he will overhaul over time, he says, in order to make it essentially Latin American.
“Coleccionarte was born out of the current restrictive and persecutory trends in relation to copyrighted materials, with the idea of absolute freedom,” says Trulls. “All the participating artists accept that their work will be distributed free to the whole world. This is one of the wonders of the project. Creators who sell their art for many tens of thousands of euros make an original work and give it to the world, which to us seems an initiative of completely re-evolutionary romanticism these days.”
That word, “re-evolutionary,” is a favorite of members.
“Our aims are many,” he continues. “To allow anyone in the world to be a real collector of contemporary art; to contribute to visual literacy; to disseminate the work of artists and galleries from around the world to the entire globe, bringing avant-garde art to places where access to it is terrible. In short: to democratize art and to make the world an even more beautiful place.”