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The Ex Collection – Ultra Contemporary Art

#####The prominent Malmö collectors Patrik Hallberg and Helena Sandén Berg began their joint art collection when they met in the early 1990s. Five years ago, they went their separate ways and have now decided to sell their art collection to find new owners for the 80 works.

#####**The Ex Collection – Ultra Contemporary Art** is a unique collection of international and Scandinavian contemporary art, where many of the artists were born after 1975 and are mostly well known to a foreign audience. Patrik and Helena have mainly bought the works at international galleries and art fairs. They have close ties to the Swedish gallerist and art collector Johan Berggren and have chosen to support many of the artists he exhibited. The art school Städeschule in Frankfurt, of which Daniel Birnbaum was formerly the rector, has also been close to the hearts of both collectors.

How would you describe your collection, and what made you start collecting?

Art is an important part of our lives. We have a connection to Galerie Leger in Malmö, and that's where we started. We would describe the collection as a collage of works connected to the Malmö gallerist Johan Berggren, the artist Fredrik Vaerslev and the art school Städelschule in Frankfurt. The collection's focus has been on abstract contemporary art and works that are not immediately gratifying but that demand something more from you that grows with you. The feeling has always been most important to us in relation to investment.

Which work was the first you bought?

Patrik: A lithograph by Peter Hahne that we bought at Galerie Leger in Malmö. The work is also included in this auction.
Helena: I remember the feeling and pride of hanging our first work on the wall, in our home. It felt grown up. A big step was buying our first oil painting, a work by Anette Harboe Flensburg. It was a huge feeling! That painting was probably the hardest to part with because it meant so much. But an important part of collecting art is also daring to sell when you want to buy something else or want to change direction.

Do you see a common thread in your collection?

Primarily, the collection revolves around abstract painting, with artists who have an international focus born primarily in the 1980s. Most are mid-career, with an exciting future, and many are artists who are not very well known in Sweden and who have rarely or never previously appeared at auction. This a unique opportunity for someone else to find new and exciting artists!
Helena: Thanks to gallerist Johan Berggren, we have had the opportunity to meet his artists and have an exciting dialogue about the works we then bought. Getting in direct contact with the artists is a big part of art collecting. Our children have also been to several openings and art fairs. One of the most memorable meetings with artists was in New York during the Frieze art fair. Then we went and visited Jasper Spicero's home, where he showed his video art and then we visited Jared Madere in his "caravan" heated and powered by gas/fire on a street in Manhattan where he lived and, on his laptop, he showed his fantastic works. These meetings are priceless memories.

Is there any work that has an unusual provenance/history or background that cannot be told about?

Patrik: Two of the works in the collection were previously owned by Stefan Simchowitz. Stefan is a well-known art collector, art dealer, and gallerist active in Los Angeles who is constantly looking for "The next big thing". It's fun picking up Amalia Ulman (1415104) and Lucie Stahl (1415163). He has also owned works by the Norwegian artist Fredrik Vaerslev.
Helena: ”Faith, Hope and Comfort” by Jet-Te Ranning. This work consists of three parts and is a tribute to Ola Billgren, who was a bit of a mentor for Jette. We got hooked on it when we got married and bought it at the group exhibition that Galerie Leger had in memory of Ola Billgren after his death. The meaning of the work became a manifestation of our marriage, and the work hung over our bed during our time together. I especially like the thread that runs through and between the three parts, which reminds us of what we should be to each other.
Overall, our art collection has not only given us happiness and amazement, but the collection has also contributed to discussions, observations and thoughts for our children, their friends and our friends and relatives. It has been absolutely fantastic having being able to be surrounded by contemporary art in our home and everyday life. Now we want to give the opportunity to others to create their own meetings and memories around art.

#####**The collection will be shown at Bukowskis in Stockholm between January 25th – 28th January and sold exclusively online 24th January – 2nd February.**

Requests & condition reports Contact specialist

Louise Wrede
Louise Wrede
Specialist Contemporary Art, Private Sales
+46 (0)739 40 08 19
Karin Aringer
Karin Aringer
Specialist Photographs and Contemporary Art
+46 (0)702 63 70 57