The Collectors’ Forum is a platform which brings to the light recognized private and corporate collector’s practices, guides and fosters young collectors in compiling and managing a collection and creating a communicational environment.

The first edition of the COLLECTORS’ FORUM is structured as a moderated presentation of the practices and approaches employed by several esteemed art collectors. The audience of the event will be drawn by special invitation from a pool of collectors, gallery managers and curators.


First edition will gather a group of professionals of mixed backgrounds and experiences who are either passionate art collectors or are about to embark on this exciting career path. The COLLECTORS’ FORUM will present some of the most remarkable personalities and brands in the art world today – those who have funded and started their collections, as well as those who are in charge of the daily lives of these collections; successful businessmen, as well as art historians and art managers.


Vienna, Austria

Hans Knoll is a gallery owner in Vienna since the mid 1980`s, and in Budapest since 1989. He is a member of the Association of Austrian Galleries. He has worked as a curator for a number of European travelling exhibitions. Since 1995, he has also worked as an instructor at the cultural management seminars of the Cultural Studies Institute, Vienna, in the field of gallery work. He is a professor at the Vienna Music University, the Institute for Cultural Management and the Webster University in Vienna. He was the Austrian Official Curator for the Visual Arts at the World Exhibition EXPO 2000 in Hannover, where he curated eight Austrian and international exhibitions (including The Leopold Collection at the Kestner Gersellschaft in Hannover and Governmentality in the old Kestner Association. Between 2002 and 2005 he was the Chairman of the Association of Austrian Modern Art Galleries. At the Collectors’ Forum 2011, Mr. Knoll will present the project Eastern European Collectors.

Budapest , Hungary and Vienna, Austria

Gábor Hunya is a senior research economist at the Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (wiiw), which is Austria’s think-tank for first-hand information and analysis on Central and Eastern Europe ( Born in 1953, he is a Hungarian citizen and an Austrian resident (since 1991). He has published numerous articles, conducted several research projects and worked as a consultant to international bodies on topics related to foreign direct investment and its effects on restructuring and competitiveness.

Since 1992, Gábor Hunya has built up a collection of contemporary Hungarian and Romanian art, whose focus is on politically motivated art in the years of transition. In addition to painting, it also contains conceptual objects and photography. The collection travels frequently both in Hungary and abroad.

Brussels, Belgium

Valerie Verhack assists collector Walter Vanhaerents and coordinates the Vanhaerents Art Collection. She holds an MA in art history and museology from Ecole du Louvre – Paris and Ghent University. Interested in both contemporary art and the historical avant-garde, between 2009 and 2011 she worked as a researcher at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts in Brussels, where she curated the exhibition Jules Schmalzigaug, A Belgian Futurist. She has worked extensively as a writer on art and Belgian cultural policy.

Brussels, Belgium

The Vanhaerents Art Collection is a family collection of international contemporary art containing works from the 1970s until today. It is located in a former industrial building in the Dansaert district in Brussels, Belgium. Every two years the Vanhaerents Art Collection shows a selection of art works from the collection in its three storey exhibition space. The current group exhibition Sympathy for the Devil (until November 2013) contains works by international contemporary artists such as James Lee Byars, Ugo Rondinone, Matthew Day Jackson and Sudarshan Shetty. A solo exhibition is also organised annually: currently David Altmejd’s Colossi (until March 2012).

Sofia, Bulgaria

Prof. Valeri Stefanov is the President of the Union of Bulgarian Collectors, whose member organizations share a wide range of interests (numismatics, 20th century Bulgarian and European art, etc.). The union’s mission is to assist legislative bodies in the production of adequate legislation governing the preservation of Bulgaria’s cultural heritage and to raise public awareness of the activities of Bulgarian art collectors.

Prof. Valeri Stefanov teaches Bulgarian literature at the St. Clement of Ohrid University in Sofia. His research interests include the history of Bulgarian literature, collective identity, cultural memory, ideology and others.


OPEN ARTS FOUNDATION was founded in Plovdiv, in 2007. Our mission is to activate, reflect and communicate the city with the medium of the arts. The foundation’s policy is to develop and produce our own cultural production. Our three main programs are: Night of Museums and Galleries, City & Culture and the Film Program. From 2011, the Open Arts Foundation started its own Educational program in Contemporary art and Project for Public Spaces archive. /

SARIEV GALLERY is a private commercial gallery for contemporary art created by Katrin and Vesselina Sarievi in September 2004 in Plovdiv. Today, with its active job and selection of names Sariev Gallery has become a motor and communicator of Bulgarian contemporary art. The gallery is noted for its exhibition policy and its place in Bulgarian cultural life in many prestigious polls and national media. Authors presented by the gallery: Georgi Georgiev – Jorrras, Svetozara Alexandrova, Emil Miraztchiev, Bora Petkova, Simeon Stoilov, Kiril Kuzmanov, Pravdoliub Ivanov, Mariela Gemisheva, Alla Georgieva, Ivan Moudov, Simeon Simeonov, Albena Mihailova – Bendji, Sacho Stoitsov, Vikenti Komitski. Sariev Gallery is at the basis of two organizations developping the concept of its creators – the development of urban culture, contemporary art and creative economy. The other two platforms are Open Arts Foundation and artnewscafe, Plovdiv. /

VESSELA NOZHAROVA (1974, Blagoevgrad) is a freelance curator based in Sofia, Bulgaria. She has worked at various art spaces in Sofia including the Red House Centre. She has curated a series of exhibitions, some of them in cooperation with other curators from Bulgaria and abroad. She was the curator of the Bulgarian Pavilion at the 52nd Venice Art Biennial (2007), and assistant curator of Bulgarian Pavilion at the 11th Architecture Biennale (2008). She is a founding member of the Art Affairs and Documents Foundation in Sofia (2008).

within the Plovdiv Night of Museums and Galleries 2011

concept and organisation:
Open Arts Foundation in partnership with Sariev Gallery

structure and moderation:
Vessela Nozharova

16 September 2011, Plovdiv
Famous House Hotel

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