Questions for Domo Baal | Limna

Questions for Domo Baal

We caught up with Domo Baal, of DOMOBAAL for her take on our 10 Questions. Having been established within a Georgian house in central London in 2000, Baal has held more than 200 shows for a range of artists across many disciplines — from painting, to sculpture, film, and more.

How did you get started doing what you do?

DB: I lived near the RCA, [and] went to every single degree show since… 19…68! I tend to try to visit these places, and still do, to look at the work, without the artists present wherever possible. The people bit comes later. It’s my interest in what art is and might be, how it works, if and when it does. The strangeness, particularity and wonder of it. What any artwork is, any image or artwork, both in what it proposes and what withholds - i.e. the edit, I suppose, together with how it is installed/curated/presented. That is what drew and draws me in. In other words it’s the ‘how’ an artwork does what it does, not the ‘what’ - that for me is the relatively quotidian illustration of an idea. Nothing more, and nothing less. A piece might well work as decoration, it might well be pleasing, but it is not necessarily art. When one does attempt to engage with developing practice whether of an artist or a gallery programme, one should aim to offer far more than the hit of the look of something, or the biography or recent news of the artist. That is all nothing but snackable content. however delicious snacks might be, they can only remain just that… to be superseded or followed by something else.

What’s the first painting you ever bought?

DB: Alfred Wallis. It is completely private as my own collection is, in the main. [I] bought it in the v. early nineties privately and love it still.

Alfred Wallis, The Blue Ship, 1934. Photo credit: Tate

What’s something you wish you knew when you first started collecting?

DB: [I’ve] forgot already. Buy only what you love, and have a fascination in. And only work that you find yourself thinking about after looking at it, and find yourself wanting to keep looking at it with pleasure/curiosity/interest.

What’s the most misunderstood aspect of the art market in your opinion?

DB: The fiction that there is a single art market that is a continuum. The world in all its aspects is far more layered and nuanced, as is every market. Nothing is ever black and white, it’s a whole range of hues.

Which painter are you currently really excited about?

DB: Chris Hanlon. You might have to check out his work, either on my site or his, or look at his paintings, it will then be obvious. He is a brilliant painter, and consistently so. His work tends to be collected by successful artists and others with a deep personal experience in the art world. It is always a treat to place a Chris Hanlon painting. There are no Chris Hanlons in storage as far as I am aware, they tend to be installed as soon as they are acquired.

What’s the last art-related Instagram post you liked or account you followed?

DB: @nickyhirst63 Simply put: Nicky Hirst’s work sits in a world where all of us, to include those not working in art and other aspects of visual culture, are simply saturated by images of all kinds, both moving and still. Snaps, selfies, formal images are everywhere and accompany everything. Her practice is hugely responsive to all manner of images, found, seen, photographed, collaged. She is a painter of pictures without ever using paint or a paintbrush. Her practice is hugely responsive to looking, seeing and finding and she uses all of this to reflect back on the world using the content it provides. It concerns the language of images as much as images themselves.

Nicky Hirst, Elemental 325, 2020
© Nicky Hirst, Courtesy of the artist and DOMOBAAL.

What upcoming exhibitions are you looking forward to?

DB: Nicky Hirst’s @electionartist2019

Tell us about an artist who should be getting more attention.

DB: Nicky Hirst, naturally!

What’s the best piece of art-world advice you’ve ever been given?

DB: There is no such thing (obviously). Buy what you love, what you covet and what you, as far as you can judge, always want to treasure and keep looking at. Only.

What gives you most confidence in an artist and their work?

DB: Buy it and live with it.