“My advice is very simple—go see as much art as possible!”Esra Aydin

Esra Aydin talks to us about the gateway drug of limited editions and multiples.

On the sofa beside a neon work by Gintaras Diziapetris. Image: © Juliane Spaete

You have many editions in your own collection. What kind of art do you have hanging on your wall and is there an artist that you're particularly interested in currently?
I almost exclusively own editions by artists who I know or who I'm friends with. They are artists from the same generation as me and I love every single piece I acquire; I also love to see how their practices evolve over time. There is nothing better than helping to nurture an artist's career. Adam Harrison, a good friend of mine from whom I have also acquired a work, summed it up really nicely—"We artists need allies", he said. Two artists whose work I am currently following are Petrit Halilaj und Flaka Haliti. Both are the first to represent their country at the Kosovo Pavillon at the Venice Biennale (Petrit in 2013 and Flaka in 2015).

Ugly Fish by Flaka Haliti. Image: © Juliane Spaete

Can you tell us a bit more about the editions in your collection?
Most of the editions I own were released to accompany exhibitions of independent project spaces and art collectives. By buying them I can contribute to the financial backing of these institutions and exhibition spaces and the artists also make some money. My neon piece by Gintaras Didžiapetris was created for an exhibition called SUDOKU at the Munich Kunstverein in 2015 whilst my editioned work by Keren Cytter was commissioned and shown at the independent project space Volker Bradtke for fundraising purposes.


Unwrapping Kai Althoff's vinyl edition.

Have you ever been given an artwork as a present?
I have received three editions as a gift during my time as a member of the Cologne Kunstverein—works by Rosemarie Trockel, Lawrence Weiner, and Kai Althoff. On being appointed director in 2013 Moritz Wesseler started asking artists to produce an edition as a thank you present to all the members at the end of each year. The first edition was a portrait of the director by Rosemarie Trockel. Moritz is a good friend of mine so I find it really amusing to have him grinning at me in the form of a vampire every day. In 2015 we got given a vinyl edition by Kai Althoff, a truly fantastic piece with an elaborately designed sleeve.

What would you say is your favorite piece from your own collection?
That must be Ugly Fish by Flaka Haliti—a young artist from Kosovo. She currently lives in Munich and made this edition during her residency on Fogo Island. The work depicts a local fish which the fishermen call ugly fish because it looks like a little dragon. They have different colors and shapes, but cannot be eaten so it really is a useless fish! 

Image: © Juliane Spaete


Esra Aydin beside Jeremy Deller's Kunstverein München exhibition poster. Image: © Juliane Spaete

How are editions perceived in the circles you move in?
The importance of editions is not to be underestimated. They are the starting point for many young collectors—a sort of gateway drug so to speak! And for seasoned collectors editions can be a way of completing the work of an artist. Editions by Gerhard Richter, for example, are being snapped up by interested parties and can sell for record prices at auction.

Interview by Juliane Spaete