Jiggy Rawal joins Luxury Life International as a regular columnist to comment on the world of luxury collectibles.
I have an admission to make. Come a little closer, I don’t want to shout it out too loud. I am scared. Scrap that, I am terrified! After 16 years in finance I decided to start The Curatist, a luxury collectibles service to help people source collectables such as art, wine, vintage cars and jewellery. Whether it’s a gift for a special moment or an item you’ve felt passionate about, I want to help you create an amazing life moment. Something that you can look back at time after time and remember just what it meant to you. Something your family and friends can look back in years to come and remember who you were. The piece that makes your heart jump a little each time you look at it. Those are special and things we often forget.
‘Whether it’s a gift for a special moment or an item you’ve felt passionate for, I want to help you create an amazing life moment.’
Starting the business has been a whirlwind of conflicting emotions. Somewhere in the midst of the terror is a sense of liberation and excitement. So, come along with me for the journey.
I was recently travelling in Japan. It is a place I’ve wanted to visit for many years now. I experienced the cotton candy delights of cherry blossom season in Kyoto, the majesty of Mount Fuji from the comforting warmth of a heated day bed, and the rush of Tokyo. Art can be enjoyed in many forms, from the precise brush strokes of calligraphy, the etiquette of a tea ceremony, to the beauty of sushi made by Mr Yoshida. In Kyoto, down the quaint, narrows streets of Gion, there were antique kimono and ceramic shops. Walking into the kimono shop I was taken aback by the beauty and detail that went into making the kimono and obi. Each one having a unique story of its previous life, the region it was made in and the production technique used. In Tokyo, I had the privilege of viewing Yayoi Kusama’s works at the National Gallery where her exhibition “My Eternal Soul” was on. A retrospective of her body of work over 70 years. It was a psychedelic, pulsating, energetic explosion of colour and of course polka dots. The exhibition would not be complete without her signature piece – the yellow pumpkin covered with optical black dots which for Yayoi has come to represent a “self-portrait”. Safe to say, I returned home with a small pumpkin. From the established to the emerging and experimental.
I visited Sezon Gallery that nurtures young talent from some of Japan’s top academic institutions. Haruna Shinagawa works pays attention to the characteristic of paints becoming fixed, purposely creating an area where it is not fixed, by peeling the paints from the canvas. Haruna looks to create a new perspective of paints on canvas other than painting. He is breaking through having held several exhibitions in Hong Kong as well as Japan. Haruna Shinagawa is one of many upcoming great artists. My trip to Japan surpassed my high expectations in every way.
Back home in London, I attended the opening reception of the Pink Floyd, Their Mortal Remains exhibition at the V&A. I am no Floydian but this was a truly modern take on what an arts exhibition can be. As the albums had strong visual identities and explored complex themes this served as a chronological approach, which was brought to life through sleeve designs, musical instruments used by the band to create their unique sound and stage mock ups. Behind the scene stories were brought to life by audio and video. The rooms for The Wall were a highlight with a reconstruction of Battersea Powerstation, Gerald Scarfe inflatables and a flying pig. The climax was a four-screen projection of a live performance of Comfortably Numb in Sennheiser surround. It came thrillingly close to the feel of a live concert experience.
Very different experiences, but they reaffirmed my belief that collections should have stories behind them and that these stories add immeasurably to the experience. Each created a timeless legacy, what’s yours?