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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Janssen’s love affair with art on display at CCP

    Stephane Janssen is showing his contemporary photography collection at the Center for Creative Photography from Nov. 22 to March 8, 2009. Janssen owns a collection of 4,000 pieces of artwork, 1,000 of which are photographs. He bought his first painting at age 16.
    Stephane Janssen is showing his contemporary photography collection at the Center for Creative Photography from Nov. 22 to March 8, 2009. Janssen owns a collection of 4,000 pieces of artwork, 1,000 of which are photographs. He bought his first painting at age 16.

    “”I don’t know why I cannot stop,”” said Stéphane Janssen. “”It’s like a disease. I don’t smoke, I buy art.””

    Janssen owns the art displayed in the Center for Creative Photography’s new exhibit, “”Oh L’Amour: Contemporary Photography from the Stéphane Janssen Collection.””

    “”We usually don’t have that kind of variety,”” said Robin Southern, information specialist for the center. “”We just haven’t had that size or color.””

    Southern said the modern nature of the exhibit was a change from the center’s normal black and white, classical features.

    The variety can be seen in pictures ranging from a portrait of Liza Minelli, to a cocktail party featuring an alien, from a photo taken on a glacier to a photo taken in a museum.

    Janssen himself cannot explain how he chooses which photographs he buys.

    “”I like what I like,”” he said. “”I fall in love. I really fall in love. I mean, it’s very weird. But you know in life, why do you fall in love with one person or another? I don’t think there’s any explanation.””

    Although he may not have a pattern as to how he chooses art, several events have influenced Janssen’s life, and thus, his likes and dislikes. The four that he shared are quitting his day job at 21 years old, the death of his father, his subsequent move to America and meeting his partner.

    “”I met the love of my life, and we were together for 12 years,”” he said. “”Then, he died in ’93 of AIDS and that changed my whole concept of my purpose in life. It’s a weird idea that we are all here for some reason, and my reason is that I can help young artists get rid of their day job and do what they like to do.””

    As art can tell a story about its creator, it can also tell a story about the patron and the one who chooses to collect it.

    Janssen has an idea about what his art says about him.

    “”That I’m nuts, that I’m gay,”” he said with a laugh.

    However, different identities are created in others’ minds.

    “”I imagine he’d be calm,”” said Andrew Schaeffer, an architecture freshman. “”All of the pictures, even if they did portray some violent act, they seemed to calm it down. They didn’t show brute force, it showed the aftermath or before the conflict.””

    Whatever image the collection projects, the exhibit offers something for everyone.

    “”I think it’s interesting, all the different kinds of pictures,”” Schaeffer said. “”It has a good variety so everyone will find at least one thing.””

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