PRIOR Art Space Press Release
Oliver Elst and Laura del Arco are proud to announce the opening of their flagship Berlin location,
PRIOR Art Space, opening December 3rd, 2021. While both Elst and del Arco – founders of the
Cuperior and Del Arco Collection, respectively – are experienced international collectors in their
own right, this is their first collaborative location, and marks the first time each of their collections
will be available to view by the public.
The first indication of PRIOR”s wide-ranging ambition lies in its nomenclature. Carefully casting
itself as a multipurpose and multidisciplinary art space, the nascent institution will host a variety of
events that mirror the core values that have driven both Elst and del Arco in building their
respective collections of internationally recognised mis- and underrepresented artists. Firmly
believing in their duty to support emerging artists through the uncertain years of their early career,
PRIOR”s founders look to usher in a new generation of global artists through the creation of a new
kind of institution, one driven by collaboration and long-term support.
In turn, the decision to make the location public echoes the collectors” desire to respond to the
needs of contemporary art world, from outside as well as within. Watching modes of viewership
shift from in-person interaction to digital, social media-driven access, Elst and del Arco have
posited PRIOR Art Space as a point of convergence. Works that have been available for view via
the Instagram accounts of each collection are now available for in-person enjoyment, while
visitors are encouraged to allow their own images of the space to proliferate via their personal
feeds and timelines, allowing works to travel further than ever possible in a private setting.
The space will be structured under the principle of a tripartite program: the principal collection,
supportive collaborations, and a space-driven artist residency. In the location”s foremost viewing
area, works from both the Cuperior and Del Arco collections will be made available for view, with
the curation of the works arranged by either guest curators or, indeed, by Elst and del Arco
themselves. Additionally, over the course of their yearly program, the founders look forward to
opening this space to showcase the collections of their collector peers – reciprocal or celebratory
arrangements with like collections will ensure a varied and vibrant public offering.
In the secondary viewing area, PRIOR Art Space will host emerging artists available through
partner galleries. Throughout their rich collecting histories, both Elst and del Arco have formed
strong bonds with emerging artists and galleries globally, and hope to leverage their public space
to benefit those who have helped contribute to their collection. However, this portion of the space
holds the capacity for ingenuity and (re)invention: here, partners are encouraged to explore and
reflect on the space, sharing with PRIOR the flair and intrigue that has made them such unique
talents. It is the hope of the founders that this opportunity proves developmental; able to engage
with the vibrant arts community that Berlin provides, perhaps for the first time, both artists and
gallerists are able to further refine their practices in light of their broader exposure.
Finally, the third programmatic element of the space is due to be the Cuperior Residency, running
for a period of between four to eight weeks, and featuring artists the foundation feels harbour
notable potential. During this period, visiting artists will be encouraged to create a body of work
that will be exhibited in the Torstraße space, creating a de facto exhibition while providing insight
into the artist”s process. Crafted outside of the comfort of the artist”s studio, the works will bear
the strongest iteration of the the tools the artist must always carry with them: their keen senses of
observation and unyielding imagination.
This foray into public exhibition, while a landmark development for both the Cuperior and del Arco
Collections, is understood as only an initial step for both collectors. Having worked and collected
globally, the expansive vision of both Elst and del Arco holds the possibility of further locations
and collaborations across the globe. Moving forward, it is the hope of the founders that while they
may contribute to the local Berlin community, such a contribution is mirrored, extended, and
partnered in from both immediate and extended collecting circles.
Art Space for the New generation Art collections displayed a curated exhibition of works part of Cuperior Collection & Del Arco Collection.