The imaginary world of art collector N. Corrado, Frieze Masters art fair in London

I'm a little late to the party and yet I am so glad I came across this immersive art 'installation' as concieved by British designer Robin Brown in collaboration with Senior Producer Anna Pank for the Helly Nahmad gallery at Frieze Masters art fair in London. The gallery chose to present their art portfolio in the form of a 1968 Parisian apartment home of a collector. The brief was to create the world of N. Corrado, a stock broker in 1968 in Paris who lives in a small apartment in Montparnasse, collecting the greatest artists of his time. I am in awe of the imagination of Robin Brown and Anna Pank to have sourced and created something that feels so intimate and authentic and not gimmicky in any way, can you imagine the fun they must have had collecting everything - the vintage addict in me is giddy at the idea! The space is so inviting and drives home the sense of feeling 'at home' with art. It utterly breaks down the often frosty barrier between the gallery and the art appreciator and really illustrates how art can and should become part of our lives, how it shouldn't be collected and stored somewhere in a bank vault but hung on our walls so that it can inspire our daily lives."Collected one by one over many years the works in this apartment take us on a journey through one man’s life and spirit. Like a private diary so intimate and personal, this collection is a mirror of the man. It calls into question what collecting really means in today’s world.'" Helly Nahmad, Founder, Helly Nahmad Gallery

"The installation is the result of 3 months of collecting and curating everything from authentic student posters, exhibition catalogues, contemporary art and popular culture magazines, Paris metro tickets, and furniture, to sourcing, editing and making a soundtrack for the 1968 television broadcast, and curating appropriate music to reflect the time and character and editing that together with dialogue. It took 3 weeks to build the apartment, which was then assembled from kit form at the Fair and installed and dressed in 3 days." Robin Brown Ultravie

helly-nahmad-frieze-masters-2014-habituallychic-008"Other stuff, such as piles and piles of Paris Match magazines, we got from Le Bon Coin which is sort of the French eBay. They go back years because he's a hoarder - but 1968 is the cut-off point." Robin Brown


"The installation investigates the passion for collecting. Helly Nahmad told me about an obsession with collecting in some members of his family and the physical manifestations that can have in the place where a person lives. For some people there's a fine line between collecting and outright hoarding."  Robin Brown in conversation with Vincent Dowd, BBC News


"For the bedroom I was delighted to track down a huge 1950s 'lit traineau' - a sleigh bed. In fact, we were able to hire it from an antique dealer in London. Most of the bedding is from a props house in London. And above the bed I hung an enormous picture by Alberto Burri, an Italian artist Corrado N might have been familiar with. It was important that all the art work is genuine. Lots of the painting are a bit too big for the flat - because he's had to downsize." Robin Brown

photo_11_0"The apartment set in the centre of the stand so onlookers look into the space rather than entering an empty box to look at art on the surrounding walls. I intended it to be an immersive experience with an vast emotive collection of found objects, books, magazines, letters and cultural references and then to bring that to life with the addition of contemporary television broadcast footage and radio playing nostalgic music of the period, cutting between moments of radio interference to spoken word to place the observer firmly in Paris at that time. "Robin Brown



Photos by Fausta Maria Bolettieri and Johannes Kraft, and on this journey of discovery I wandered into the magnificent instagram gallery of Miguel Flores Vianna who images feature here (a fun rabbit hole to fall down into on this stormy morning)