Welcoming Wiebke Brix, Head of Art at Leonard Joel

We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Wiebke Brix as Head of Art at Leonard Joel. Wiebke brings a wealth of experience, passion for art, and expertise to the team.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your background in art.
My background in art begins with my roots as a ceramicist. My professional journey began in Germany, where I navigated through the ranks of the traditional guild system learning my craft. My fascination led me to pursue a formal education in applied arts, specialising in ceramics.

A significant turning point in all levels of my life was when I received a scholarship to pursue my master’s degree in studio arts at the Sydney College of the Arts. The combination of being far from home, somewhat isolated on the other side of the world, and being exposed to a very vibrant arts campus broadened my horizon and introduced me to a more conceptual approach to art, marking a significant shift in my artistic focus. After completing my studies, I found myself naturally transitioning into arts management. This allowed me to combine my passion for art with the practical aspects of making a living.

What are you most looking forward to in your new role?
I am particularly excited about working with a multitude of specialists in their respective fields. I am looking forward to being exposed to my colleagues’ knowledge.

I have always had a keen interest in design and am drawn to contemporary styles. Therefore, the opportunity to work alongside experts in modern design is a valued bonus. I am also excited about delving into the world of jewellery. I hope to learn about the intricate craftsmanship involved in creating jewellery and to discover the rich history and cultural significance behind different styles.

Francisco Goya, Saturn Devouring His Son

Could you tell us about an exciting career moment from your time working in galleries?
A very memorable time was the opportunity to work with the renowned Australian artist, Stelarc. His approach to art is unique and fascinating, as he constantly pushes the boundaries of what we perceive art to be. Not only is Stelarc a true artist, but also an incredibly interesting and charming individual. I was struck by his dedication and unwavering commitment to his work. It was truly inspiring to work with someone so passionate.

What advice would you give to new art collectors?
It is important to acquire art from reputable vendors and to ensure ethical standards are followed. Whilst learning the ins and outs of the art market my advice would be to buy what you love and respond to, it will always add value to your life, and you will never regret it. Art is deeply personal, and the pieces you collect should resonate with you on that level. Follow your gut and choose artworks that you genuinely connect with. These pieces will always bring you joy and enrich your life beyond their monetary value.

Who are some contemporary artists you are currently excited about?
One of my favourites is the German contemporary artist Wolfgang Laib, celebrated for his minimalist and meditative installations. I particularly admire his installations using pollen, which create immersive experiences that invite viewers to reflect on their relationship with the environment and the world around them.

Recently, I came across Dawn Ng, a Singaporean artist, whose latest project involved crafting pigmented ice blocks that she then documented melting. The colouration of the ice is incredibly beautiful, displaying a painterly quality in both video and photographic form.

Laib and Ng’s works relate in the sense that they are essentially ephemeral artistic practices.

Wolfgang Laib, Pollen from Hazelnut

Do you have any favourite museums or galleries to visit?
In Australia, one cannot overlook MONA. It stands as a visionary undertaking, blending striking architectural design with a captivating art collection set against an idyllic location. The museum’s uniqueness lies in its immersive and unconventional approach to art.

Schloss Gottorf, a museum in my hometown in Germany, holds a special place in my heart. It houses a collection of historical and archaeological artefacts as well as fine art, most notably the “Sammlung Horn” collection of expressionist painters. It was here that I first discovered the influential works of artists like Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Max Ernst.

If you could own any piece of art, what would it be?
If given the choice, I would own Francisco Goya’s Saturn Devouring His Son. While it is not the type of art I would display prominently in my home due to its disturbing nature, it holds a profound significance for me. Having seen Goya’s black paintings at the Prado, I experienced firsthand the extraordinary power art can have. The black paintings moved me in a way that was both emotional and visceral. This work of art would serve as a reminder of the impact art can have, and the incredible range of human emotions it can evoke.

Top Image: Wiebke Brix, Head of Art at Leonard Joel

April 2024