Questions for Johann König | Limna

Questions for Johann König

In the first of our quick-fire interviews with some of the leading minds 🧠 of the art industry, we’re speaking to Johann König of KÖNIG GALERIE who — with outposts in Berlin (est. 2002), London (est. 2017), and Seoul (est. 2021) — continues to stand at the forefront of the progression of the art industry with 40+ emerging and established artists from around the world working across a multitude of mediums.

How did you get started doing what you do?

JK: I was born and raised into art. In our home, the TV was on a Brillo Box by Andy Warhol.

Johann König with Family

What’s the first painting you ever bought?

JK: I bought my first piece of art when I was 19. A painting by Carsten Fock. It cost 3000 marks at the time.

Carsten Fock, Untitled, 2008

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

JK: Once you’ve sold things, you usually can’t get them back.

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

JK: The art market needs more transparency. The luxury markets are booming, only the art market is stagnating. Because it is so intransparent.

Which painter are you currently really excited about?

JK: Fabian Warnsing’s work is a confrontation with images, signs, paintings, image-making in general, and the way we perceive in our society. The subjects in his paintings range from still life scenes to references to art history and pop culture. The paintings themselves are based on drawings, sometimes still visible when the spaces have not been completely filled, and show his process between the idea of a picture and the result.

Fabian Warnsing, Quadrat mit Vorhang, 2020

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

JK: @natatogliatti On the borderline between art and commerce, between reality and artistic critique of consumption, Nata Togliatti has realized her incredibly great and also great implemented art action in the supermarket.

What upcoming exhibitions are you looking forward to?

JK: Loie Hollowell in St. Agnes 28.4.–13.6.2021. Originating in autobiography, her work explores themes of sexuality, pregnancy and birth. Hollowell’s geometric compositions use symbolic shapes such as the mandorla, ogee, and lingam to build her distinctive visual lexicon.

Loie Hollowell, Sacred Contract Installation View, KOENIG GALERIE

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

JK: Ulay. He was overlooked, but he is just as important as Marina Abramović.

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

JK: I learned early on that it’s important to communicate successes, such as sales to public museums. The prerequisite is that they are right.

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

JK: I follow my intuition, my gut feeling and the Limna app.