In conversation with Thomas Zitzwitz on the collection and production of NFTs

The Cologne artist and curator Thomas Zitzwitz collects and experiments with NFTs. My connection to him came about through the most recent project undertaken by Roland Schappert at the David Behning Gallery. However, his involvement with NFTs was first brought to my attention by chance via twitter. And, as I am – how would people put it nowadays – quite bullish at the moment as far as NFTs are concerned, my curiosity was aroused and I wanted to know more. Thankfully, Thomas found the time to answer a few of my questions.

Pupila Dilatada Flyer –
PSYCHEDELIC CRYPTOART SHOW MARCH 25 2021

fk: I saw via twitter that you are involved with NFTs, both as a collector and as a producer. Is that right and why does the subject of NFTs interest you in general?

tz: I am sure that the hype around NFTs has a lot to do with the coronavirus pandemic. At present, the possibilities to see original art are extremely limited. All we are left with are online viewing rooms of galleries, fairs, museums, Instagram, etc. and an almost endless number of PDFs that flatter into our email boxes every day. Even as die-hard art enthusiasts, be it as collectors or artists, we soon become tired of it all.

As an artist, I have always been interested in new trends in contemporary art. I started in 1992 in the foundation semester with a course of studies in Media Arts at the Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe. Early on, I became interested in new forms in art, as an artist in particular in video and sound installations, as well as a new form that I have called Situation with Smell.

When I look at artworks shown on platforms hicetnunc.xyz, foundation.app, makersplace.com or superrare.co (to name just some of these ‘exhibition sites’), they are stored per certificate in a blockchain as NFTs. That means that I look at the original artwork on my computer screen, even if I am sitting on my own sofa because of a lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic and I am not able to go to museums, galleries and art clubs. That has its own particular appeal for me, as I am not looking at the copy, the photo or documentation of a painting, sculpture, installation or film but at the original.

At the same time, I don’t deny that only a few NFT artworks really engage or inspire me. But there certainly are some, and the discovery of just one such work sometimes makes clicking at breakneck speed through hundreds, even thousands of works worthwhile. But I also believe that, when we have overcome the pandemic, and we can once again visit exhibitions, biennales and fairs, the fascination for NFT artworks will diminish. Although it will definitely not disappear.

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