Isabel Deimel, Fair Manager for Affordable Art Fair Hamburg introduces us to Rademakers Gallery who will be exhibiting at the upcoming fair (14 – 17 November, Hamburg Messe). The Amsterdam-based gallery was founded in 1994 by enthusiastic owner, Pien Rademaker, who represents both emerging and established Dutch artists.
Isabel Deimel: Pien Rademakers has been working in the art market for 25 years, representing a carefully selected collection of international and local artists through her gallery, Rademakers Gallery. Pien is definitely one of the most passionate gallery owners I have ever met, and it was a delight to talk with her about her artists program, which is increasingly female dominated, and about her passion to make a difference in the male dominated art market.
MEET THE GALLERIST: PIEN RADEMAKERS
ID: You’ve been running a successful gallery for many years, overcoming and keeping pace with the many changes in the arts and art market. Can you tell us what your secret formula is?
Pien Rademakers: Since I started working in the art business, my aim was to never compromise. Every artist that I represent, I stand behind completely and love what they create. Of course, I have to react to the art market and what clients prefer, but I always try to find a way to show the best of my artists program within this. Having a balance of emerging artists and established names has helped me to react to the art market as well. When you run a contemporary art gallery, your clients are different in every city and at every fair, so I have to react to that to be successful. Trust is the basis on which I run the business, it connects everything I do and leads to a well run gallery. Another essential part is organisation. I prepare well in advance for all 12 of the fairs I exhibit at each year, and I’m never too precious to lend a hand to all areas of the business.
ID: You’ve decided to bring only female artists to this year’s Affordable Art Fair Hamburg, can you tell us more about this and about the artists?
PR: Recently, my passion and focus has been on bringing more attention to female artists. Rough handcrafted materials, like ceramics are much in demand at the moment, because they are made of natural materials. Certain materials are given certain meanings and ceramic works for example, have long been associated with something very elementally feminine. My artists work in harmony with nature and work with a lot of awareness of these associations. This results in soft sensitive unique works, which I adore.
Florentijn de Boer, for example, only works with eco-friendly materials and paints only with her hands, whose fingerprints you can spot in her huge paintings. It gives these artworks kind of a sensitive and unique personal touch. Collete Vermeulen specialises in collages. The series I will be bringing to the fair are inspired by a stay in the Arizona desert at an artist residency at the Frank Lloyd Wright school of Architecture. Colette was struck by the wide landscape, never ending horizon and the intense sunsets and moonrises that happen simultaneously. Sophie Steengracht captures the beauty of sea in her underwater works, the ecology of thich has been damaged due to extreme misuse by humans. I’m very excited to be bringing all of these artists to Hamburg for the very first time.
ID: “Women in the Arts” is a hot topic at the moment, why is it so important to talk about it?
PR: The art market is male dominated with nearly 90% of successful artists being men! Thirty years ago when I was studying art history, I only learned about male artists. That’s frustrating and I want to make a difference. It’s sad to hear that 80% of female art students will never be as successful as their male counterparts. I think we’re on the right track but I don’t want it to stop. I keep working at it because I believe in it, and I hope one day there will be more equality. Quality is what counts, not gender. One positive thing I can tell you is that 65% of my art buyers are women, who want to invest in art. This makes me optimistic and reassured that I’m on the right track.
ID: Why do you think men have received more recognition and/or successful in the arts?
PR: In my opinion it has something to do with self-confidence. Male artists may have been more secure, therefore they have more trust in their own work and are not afraid of taking risks. This confidence in themselves and their art, helps them to endure difficult times.
ID: What intangible qualities do you think women bring to the arts scene that make it even more exciting?
PR: The female artists take an even more personal approach to their artworks. As a result, the artworks have more expressiveness for me as a gallery owner.
ID: As a female gallery owner, what has been your experience of the art market? Do you find you have to particularly assert yourself?
PR: In the current art market, working with museum decision makers, you have to do business with a lot of men. I find I have to stay passionate but I also have to stay strong to survive. Of course, I’ve also had to work twice as hard because I have raised two children alone as well. Being a gallery owner is like being an entrepreneur. I have to take lots of risks and work physically, so it’s an intense work life balance and certainly not a luxury lifestyle, as it sometimes must look like from the outside. Installing exhibitions but also fairs, is a physical job and I’ve always installed big artworks on my own. I always try to go the extra mile and stay calm and collected in order to achieve incredible things. I want to empower other female gallery owners to achieve the same, and make them think “If she can do it, I can do it!
ID: What is your advice for the (female) artists out there?
PR: Be different from the others. Don’t just do what the rest is doing. Reach out for new things, take risks. Don’t be afraid, continue, don’t do concessions. I started this business 25 years ago just for the love of the arts. Besides learning the financial part of running a business, I’ve never lost that passion for creativity, which I know is the most important.
Huge thanks to Pien and Isabel for this inspiring and emotional interview! We hope it has not only helped you to connect with the artists that Pien will be bringing to the Hamburg fair, but also to understand more about the passion and enthusiasm that our gallerists have for the artists they support. If you can’t wait to see this strong-female roster of artists, don’t forget to buy a ticket to Affordable Art Fair Hamburg (14 – 17 November, Hamburg Messe) in advance.
Cécile Bichon, Cache-pot ascensionnel floral celadon, 2019, ceramic, 20 x 15 cm, Rademakers Gallery.
Featured art from first to last:
Pien and Joana Schneider at Rademakers Gallery.
Pien at Rademakers Gallery during the Only Women exhibition, June – July 2019.
Florentijn de Boer, How happy is the little stone, 2019, Oilbar on canvas, 180 x 160 cm, Rademakers Gallery.
Colette Vermeulen, Lilac Moon, 2019, Paper collage, 14 x 18 cm, Rademakers Gallery.
Sophie Steengracht, Oscillate, 2019, Acryl on fabriano paper, 100 x 71 cm, Rademakers Gallery.
Rademakers Gallery during the Solo Barbara Nanning exhibition, Sept – Nov 2019.
Rademakers Gallery during the Summer Jam exhibition, July – Aug 2019.
Barbara Nanning, La Tendresse, 2019, Blown handshaped Glass, 13 x 19 x 18 cm, Rademakers Gallery.