Cristina Guerra works with contemporary art since 1983-84. Cristina Guerra Gallery opened in 2001, alone. Before she worked with Filomena Soares, 97-99. And before that worked at the Cultural Center which led to the Centro Cultural de Cascais. At this time she had artists going outside to make museums. When they started working with her the artworks coasted 500€ and now cost 20,000€. But it takes a very long time, is 10 years. The galleries have the actual quote of the artist, the real price of an artist is in the galleries. For her the triangular system of the gallery, the critic / curator and collector remains valid and essential. A curator theorizes what the artist does and so there is a better understanding of the work by the collector.
Until 97 people just wanted canvas and started buying papers. Nowadays the paper can be as expensive as a canvas, the main interest is the artwork itself.
The Americans, British and a bit the French art collectors if they appreciate an artwork they buy. The Swiss and Germans want to know what the artist did, studying the artwork and only then they buy.
From 2004 everyone is already on the internet and it's easier to know what artists are doing.
Cristina Guerra states that nowadays we have a problem, there isn’t a museum with a permanent exhibition of Portuguese artists, there are only temporary exhibitions and we see very little Portuguese artists. There are many foreign collectors who ask her where they can see Portuguese art and she have to take them to other galleries. At the Reina Sofia Museum there is a floor where is seen only Spanish art. Nowadays we don’t see half career artists or we see the older or the very young. What happened was that the directors of the museums prefer foreign things than the Portuguese, she thinks it should be the middle term, which is to perceive, to contextualize. The Serralves Museum is at four years to buy. She usually says that "we are now a cultural center." There are many people who come to see but not buy. Passos Coelho went to Serralves the first time in his life a short time ago. This is amazing, isn’t it? The current Secretary of State is a person who understands, at least he knows everything. But the guy who is directing the Institute of Arts doesn’t know anything at all. Mário Soares, António Guterres and Durão Barroso were educated people, interested who visited the galleries.
Cristina Guerra states that, in 2007, the strategy of the gallery with a view to greater international visibility of our artists in the international market began to put some artists she worked with and had exhibited to international collections in auctions at Christie's and Philips: "what happened is that I had to put an artwork at auction and then I would have to buy through other people who bought them.” Because we don’t have art market many art collectors see the catalogs of auction houses, especially international. There are many people, even in Portugal, studying art, even some galleries, trough the auction houses to see the evolution of the rising price of an artist.
Cristina Guerra believes that there is an evolution of private art collecting in Portugal towards greater social and cultural responsibility. The interest of this new collecting is that the Portuguese art becomes more internationalize and therefore they offer works of Portuguese artists to some foreign institutions: "right now there are collectors who buy now artworks, to be in the Tate. In which they don’t benefit as patrons. It is something that is common practice in almost all countries, including Brazil, in Portugal that practice doesn’t exist. "
Cites several reference collections, such as the recent collection of Miguel Rios Foundation, Elypse collection is closed, has few Portuguese artists, is very mainstream, there is another collection, but with few Portuguese, he is Brazilian, but the idea is more South America and Middle East which is the art collection of Luis Augusto Teixeira de Freitas, the Cachola collection is the only exclusively of Portuguese artists, and he isn’t a private banker or businessman, is an employee, can make a collection that every agent respects, and some institutional collections, BES Art collection, EDP, and others who have made collections but have stopped buying a long time, cases of PT and Culturgest . "I can’t understand the lack of interest from institutional, or governmental or State funding for this area of contemporary art. Because economically are tradable. Why there is no more support in acquisitions, we must do something about the culture, as cultural tourism exists and is increasingly implemented".
What happens is that usually comes a crisis and all the collectors disappear and others appear, we are always in a new beginning.
Cristina Guerra states that have 70 square meters in Basel, and the whole operation costs 90,000€, which is nonsense. Most artists that exposes are Portuguese, costs about 10,000 €. Less discount of less than half, which is what she earns, typically has a loss. Unless you sell a foreign artist, are pieces of 80,000 € 90,000 € 100,000 € 200,000 €. Looking at the financial and economic side I ought to have given up long ago. The Portuguese Galleries normally goes to the art fairs of: ARCO, Art Basel, Art Basel Miami, Art Forum Berlin, FIAC, Vienna Art Fair, Art Rio and Shanghai. I went into Miami in 2002 and 2003. The collectors go all to the same art fairs. Our rulers if they go to ARCO is already very good, but some don’t go. When I was in APGA with Pedro Cera, the State rested for 2 international fairs with a minimum stand. In the first year, four years ago, there was 200,000€, has now been reduced to 100,000€. Sometimes the State support an artist, occasionally, like Joana Vasconcelos at this moment, I think this exhibition completely idiotic.