Once upon a time Perry Knoppert created a show where he was the first foreign taxi driver in Beijing, exploring the intercultural communication between the locals and westerners. Everything he’s done since is just as imaginative, if not more. .ART caught up with Perry in Amsterdam to talk about his latest project Support4.art Foundation, his knack for taking on very different tasks and the concept of happiness.
– Please tell us a bit about your career. What has inspired you and has moved you forward?
I don’t have a traditional career. I am what is called today a multipotentialite. You cannot imagine how many different things I did in my life. As a multipotentialite I am used to exploring, connecting, and inspiring people, basically making amazing things happen. However, from the very beginning art has been at the centre of my life. I was fortunate to grow up in a creative family; my parents have been very supportive of everything we wanted to do, so my sister is actually an artist. I remember very well the time when I was 19 years old and I stayed in contact with a very good friend that went to South Africa for an internship. Reading about her stories made me so excited that I wanted to go there and explore it myself. My mother immediately got me a plane ticket to Johannesburg. She believed I could easily take a little break from studying. I think that those kind of experiences made me who I am today, and this journey still continues. The experience of setting up the European Cultural Centre in Brussels and the Support4.art Foundation is a fascinating exploration. I think that artists are the most interesting people you can meet due to their thinking out of the box. This way, if you ask me how to describe what makes me move forward every day in only 3 words, I would say: “everything is possible”. Maybe it sounds like a cliche, but it is so true to my life.
– You are a part of the team of European Cultural Centre. Could you tell us a bit about the mission of this organization, about its principles and activities? What is your role in ECC?
The aim of The European Cultural Centre (ECC) is to be a place for reflection, research, and creation, since it’s a place for all kind of interdisciplinary encounters, resources and experimentation. The ECC provides conditions for all kinds of creative practices, such as visual art, dance, performance, theater, music, literature, architecture, etc. It is a place for investigating the most vital contemporary issues in order to design a shared future. This way, the ECC goes further than just being a place for art exhibitions. The ECC carries out projects that generate a strong interaction between different creative practices, inviting participants of all kinds and visitors from all over the world.
We think that today Brussels is an important place for the art scene. It is the capital of Europe and it has the main role in the Belgian world of art collecting. Many international art galleries have come to Brussels in the recent years, following the buzz of the art scene. Brussels is called the New Berlin thanks to the many art events that have been happening here in the recent years. That is why the European Cultural Centre is looking forward to carrying out its interdisciplinary projects in the capital of Europe.
– There are several branches of ECC located in Amsterdam, Venice, Moscow, Brussels. Do you plan on expanding your geography even more?
Indeed, the ECC has already branches in Amsterdam, Venice, Moscow, Tokyo, and now we are starting in Brussels. As you can see, the aim of the ECC is to cover all the important art hubs in the world. The interdisciplinary projects of each ECC branch get even more interesting with their circulation in the ECC global network. This way, of course we have other places on view to add to the ECC global network. Probably later this year, we will share with you something regarding it.
– Tell us about your project Support4.art. What is the general concept of this initiative? Which audience are you planning to reach?
As we all know, in order to succeed in the art world, it is not merely the quality of the artist’s artwork that’s relevant but also the network in which the artwork can be shown. In order to get there, support is crucial.
The aim of the Support4.art Foundation is to give support to artists from all over the world in order to help them with their projects. We have set this kind of support in such a way that it can suit the needs of the artists better. Fortunately, we have the chance to combine both our artistic and financial networks to make this happen. The foundation will work with sponsors that will be happy to finance the cultural creativity that plays a crucial role in binding us all together, as humans of this era.
– support4.art is a support system for artists. How exactly do you plan to implement this support?
Artists from all over the world that would like to apply for help can upload examples of their artworks to an app we are creating now – it will be ready soon, probably by the end of June. The app will cost 4 Euros, so everybody can easily participate. An international board of curators (professionals in the field) will select artists to enter the platform. Their criteria would not be related to the artist’s name or network, but the quality of their artwork. After the selection process, artists will be able to apply for support within the platform. We can either support them financially by covering the cost of their projects (materials, exhibition space, transport, publishing, etc.) or help in connecting them to our artistic network.
– What are the benefits for the partners of Support4.art?
The Support4.art Foundation will provide a huge network of high quality emerging artists from all over the world to them. They will have access to the new hype that these emerging artists will bring to the market, which is crucial to read the new tendencies nowadays. Someone who feels the relevance of culture and creativity wants to connect to the source of change, the artists who are making a difference. The Support4.Art Foundation connects partners, artists and people who care.
– You position Support4.art first and foremost as an app. Why do you feel you need a website for this project?
The Support4.art Foundation is using the app to connect, but the support4.art website is the platform where everything will come together. All the projects will have their own .art websites with their own stories. Since information about what is happening is the key for making all connections, to provide separate .art websites will help in binding all this information together.
– An object you can’t live without
Horrible answer: my phone. It is so amazing to be in contact with everyone no matter where they are or I am. By using apps such as WhatsApp, Skype, Wechat, Telegram & LinkedIn, or even by using my email, I can stay in contact easily and saves me a lot of time. Also, I love to take pictures of my daily life and keep everyone on track in all that is going on with the ECC and the Support4.art Foundation on Instagram. This device is amazing.
– A character trait you value most highly
“Never give up”, and just say whatever needs to be said.
– Your favorite book | work of art
The fear of freedom by Erich Fromm. One of his quotes: “Man’s main task in life is to give birth to himself, to become what he potentially is. The most important product of his effort is his own personality.”
– A person who had the most impact on you
It is definitely my father. He is so in control of his own thoughts and emotions. He is my Zen master. He taught me that happiness is just in a corner of one’s’ brain, not behind the wheel of someone else’s Ferrari. In order to find this corner, one needs to explore all thoughts and ideas. The challenge is to find your own way to achieve what is important for you. And this cannot be made by someone else. I think art always has helped me in exploring my own thoughts. Art inspires me by showing me how artists have explored their own vision of life. Art is not a mere product, but rather a way to find your own little corner in your brain that makes you happy. My father brought me this insight that has inspired me all my way.
Also published on Medium.