HB Art Consultancy specializes in curatorial projects, unique exhibitions, commissions and art consultancy. The main, although not exclusive, focus is on the eighteenth century and on contemporary art inspired by that period. The historical country houses and townhouses of Europe form the ideal surroundings for our exhibitions.
As curators these passions play a part in the exhibitions we create, and we specialize in presenting exhibitions that are ‘trans-historic’: connecting the present with the past; heritage with contemporary art.
When curating, the general rule is to think about three important factors: the artists, the institution, and the public. However, we feel very strongly that the location is a fourth factor and often the most important one.
The starting point of every exhibition HB Art Consultancy curates is the interior of the castle or house where the works will be on display. Curating in a domestic environment asks for knowledge of the history of the building and the people who lived in it, as well as the contemporary use of the building. For this reason, we always begin by researching the history of the place.
At the same time the historical environment – whether it is a castle, a museum or a privately owned house – provides us with the natural boundaries for the project. Every room needs to be critically appraised to see whether contemporary art will add something to the story that is already there. In addition, the artists we select to be part of my exhibitions must feel a connection to the space – and be as excited about it as we are.
Research, whether it is into the history of a building, a historical object that is part of the exhibition, or the history of the owners of the place, is a vital part of the curating process – but, for HB Art Consultancy, it is also a specific discipline in our work. Hélène’s interest in the Grand Tour leads to research into ‘ego-documents’ such as letters and (travel) journals, but historical paintings, prints, and drawings are also part of the search for a story. We conduct research driven by our own interests as well as for clients who wish to learn more about their ancestors or about the objects that have been in their family for a long time.
Through Hélène’s collecting activities as well as through curating exhibitions, we have become an expert in integrating contemporary – that is, new – art within the domestic environment. Adding contemporary works to a private home, to stand with a collection that has been part of the family for centuries, is our specialty: not as a designers, but as a storytellers. Creating a connection between an antique desk and contemporary ceramics can build a bridge linking the time of one’s ancestors with today and giving a whole new dimension to the workspace. Mediating between the client commissioning an artwork and the artist producing it is a service that comes as a natural part of the advisory business.