4 Emerging Artists Land on Deutsche Bank’s Radar

James Ardis
Published on

As the bank pivots to a more contemporary collection, these artists were among the first to catch its attention.

Girl Time by Erin O’Keefe. Photo by Denny Dimin Gallery.
Girl Time by Erin O’Keefe. Photo by Denny Dimin Gallery.

On October 22nd, Christie’s will offer a work by Egon Shiele and another by Wassily Kandinsky as part of its Paris Avant-Garde sale in the titular city. Both pieces will come to auction from the collection of Deutsche Bank, which is transitioning away from collecting 20th-century pieces and towards emerging artists.

“We are not as active in exhibiting and loaning this older part of our collection, and that is a shame,” Deutsche Bank’s head of the art department, Friedhelm Hütte, told The Art Newspaper. “These works are very valuable and some of them have to stay in storage.”

As the bank sells off more of its Modernist and 20th-century collection, it plans to reinvest that money in more contemporary pieces. The fact that this transition has just begun has not stopped Deutsche Bank from actively shopping. Both The Art Newspaper and Artnet report that works by four emerging artists were purchased by the bank at Frieze London last week.

Learn more about the four artists that caught Deutsche Bank’s attention.

Kapwani Kiwanga

Nations Cap Français 20, 21, 22, and 23 June 1793 by Kapwani Kiwanga. Photo from Galerie Jérôme Poggi.
Nations Cap Français 20, 21, 22, and 23 June 1793 by Kapwani Kiwanga. Photo from Galerie Jérôme Poggi.

Kiwanga takes a multidisciplinary approach to her work. This includes not only the mediums she uses, which range from sculpture to video, but also the subjects that inspire her. Of particular interest to Kiwanga are the stories of injustice not taught in classrooms. The work above, for example, is in remembrance of the Battle of Cap-Français and the ransacking of present-day Haiti. “I am not trying to restate what we know,” she told Artnet, “I am trying to build beyond it.”

Her pieces combine heavy research about disparate events, creating a series of juxtapositions that are unique to Kiwanga’s work. According to the Galerie Jérôme Poggi, Kiwanga calls these “exit strategies.” They are meeting points of multiple events that allow viewers to consider what societies have done in the past and how they should move forward.

Gabriela Albergaria

Inanimate Object, or the complete circle of soil by Gabriela Albergaria. Photo by the artist.
Inanimate Object, or the complete circle of soil by Gabriela Albergaria. Photo by the artist.

Portugal-native Gabriela Albergaria uses various mediums to explore nature and gardens. Some works are a meditation on nature itself, such as the installation Inanimate Object, or the complete circle of soil. For the project, Albergaria placed a Himalayan cedar, which had died two years prior, in the middle of a thriving garden. The Himalayan cedar, over the course of decades, will slowly serve as a nurse log for the colorful, lively plants surrounding it. As time passes, Albergaria intends for the installation to remind viewers of the crucial role death plays in life.

Meanwhile, other projects use nature to reflect on social issues. This includes How to Held Together Partly, in which Albergaria combines soil she collected from the many countries she visited in a year. From Greece to Colombia to the U.K., the slab of soil from around the world is Albergaria’s reflection on immigration and cohabitation.

Nima Nabavi

Nabavi’s geometric aesthetic was inspired by his grandfather, who worked for 50 years as a mathematician with a focus in geometry. Before dedicating himself to art, Nabavi studied business and entrepreneurship in the United States. He now lives and works in Dubai.

Untitled work by Nima Nabavi. Photo from The Third Line.
Untitled work by Nima Nabavi. Photo from The Third Line.

After explosions in Beirut this August injured 6,500 people and killed over 200, Nabavi was one of many artists who helped the relief efforts. He offered his prints for free to anyone who donated at least $50 to the Lebanese Red Cross, reports ARTnews.

Erin O’Keefe

Girl Time by Erin O’Keefe. Photo by Denny Dimin Gallery.
Girl Time by Erin O’Keefe. Photo by Denny Dimin Gallery.

A former architect, Erin O’Keefe believes her artwork is a natural extension of her interest in the field. “[T]he tools that I use are rooted in the abstract, formal language of making that I developed as an architect,” O’Keefe explains on her website.

Although her works appear to be paintings, they are actually still-life photographs of figures she produced. The painted background behind many of the subjects adds to the illusion. She uses the camera’s frame to produce asymmetry and to decide which parts of her three-dimensional figures appear within the photograph and which remain outside of view.

What’s Next?

The Art Newspaper reports that Deutsche Bank plans to part with about 200 fine art pieces from their Modernist and 20th-century collections. The bank intends on using the money to collect and support contemporary artists, making their acquisitions at Frieze London the start of a multi-year art acquisition campaign. Auction Daily will continue to update readers as this story develops.