Habitual
1 February - 7 March

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Sara Anstis, Claire Baily, Jack Burton, Gareth Cadwallader, Lotti V Closs, Stevie Dix, Jemma Egan, Ben Jamie, Simon Linington, Alan Magee, Derek Mainella, Simon Mathers, Amanda Moström, Nick Paton, Sebastian Sochan, Willem Weismann, Jack West, Grace Woodcock, Rafal Zajko
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I don’t think I contracted the bug through any singular, one off transaction. It’s more of an accumulative disease. I can’t recall when the sickness began, but I do remember catching an A3 sized dose the first time I was exposed to it.

I was with a bunch of habitual collectors, in a tent, at the back of a park when a trainershoe / shoetrainer booted dealer stepped from her booth. She led us to a viewing room on a string of superlatives and asked if we fancied splitting payments on a glassine baggie of lithographs.

My collection came on slow at first. I’d invest socially, when I was with the right crowd and searching for a particular experience. There was no agenda on schools or mediums; I’d simply buy-curious.  A friend of a friend would pass along details of a new space that was a hot copping spot, or the number of a reliable dealer who had quality content.

I realized my compulsion had turned into addiction when I searched in vein for an area of wall space in my residence to insert a small oil but couldn’t find any. The whole place was bursting at the seams. My lounge resembled the halls of the RA summer show. Any patch of free space was bumped and ridged with a scarred history of endless rotation.

The apartment was a mess. I had answerphone tape full of messages from museum loan registrars and the concierge would wheel a cart full of condition reports to my door daily, his eyes bulging when he craned his neck over my shoulder and witnessed the full extent of my habit; canvases stuffed into cupboards, prints spilling off the coffee table and sculpture in the sink.

A group of co-dependent collector friends intervened eventually. They hired a team of latex gloved art handlers to wrap and compile a list of works and sat me at the kitchen table, making concerned faces, talking about twelve step conservation programmes. They fanned brochures of discreet 24 hour temperature controlled storage facilities. They said my collection was worth it, that I could visit any time and flick through the racks. I relented and signed a disclaimer, my eyes welling up and nasal cavities destroyed by clouds of Hasenkamp packing dust.

These days I have my very own trainershoe / shoetrainer dealers on speed dial. They treat my habit with deference and are always willing to have an intern mainline a portfolio of available works to my door via an electric BMW. In return I sign payment plans and contaminate their gallery walls with measles.

I manage the sickness in accordance to my salary and available storage space. The trainershoe / shoetrainer dealers advise me in Basel and Regents Park, they keep my collection clean, free from the infectious junk freighted in from questionable sources.

The speculative superrich have Sunseekers to decorate with neon trophies just as the Medici had Palazzo Pitti’s and Uffizi’s to adorn with gold leaf. Art and money have always shared a close relationship. Money and taste are somewhat more estranged. But art and passion are constant associates. They are the drugs that alter perspectives of the heart, mind and nervous system and will always be together.
Text by David Northedge