The Kerenidis Pepe Collection of contemporary art was founded in 2006 in Paris by Iordanis Kerenidis (Research Director at the French National Centre for Scientific Research in quantum computing) and Piergiorgio Pepe (Ethics and compliance professional and lecturer at Sciences Po, Paris). It encompasses a variety of initiatives, including acquisitions, organization of exhibitions and projects such as Phenomenon, research on the ethics of collecting, publishing of artist books and catalogues, and other supporting actions. As collectors, they strive to practice collecting as a public, reflective, socially responsible endeavor, continuously redeployed towards expanding affective and political purposes.
Today the collection is composed of about 200 works, with most artists being represented by multiple works. They have been focusing on art which uses a conceptual language to interweave the visible and the invisible, the intimate and the political, into affective assemblages that question normative narratives. Their acquisition policy is based on research, critical thinking, and a continuous attempt to challenge personal biases and a socially constructed notion of taste. The relation to the artists is often one of long-term mutual support and friendship, which allows, at the same time, to contextualize and situate the artworks. The list of artworks of the collection is publicly accessible and available to professionals for research, exhibitions and loans, thus ensuring transparency and the public circulation of the artworks. Works of the collection have been shown at museums internationally, including at Museo Nacional de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid; Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm; Fondation d’entreprise Pernod Ricard, Paris.
The Kerenidis Pepe Collection has organized Phenomenon since 2015, a biennial program for contemporary art on the island of Anafi, Greece, for which they received in 2018 the Montblanc Patronage Award. They also organize and co-curate exhibitions, including Multitudinous Seas at the Fondation Hippocrène in Paris, One minute, One hour…one million years at the Island Club in Cyprus, or Empirically posited… and Sunset is Our Favorite Time as part of the FIAC VIP program. Grégory Castéra has been providing infrastructure and project advice for the Kerenidis Pepe Collection since 2017.
The research activities of the Kerenidis Pepe Collection are primarily concerned with understanding the conditions that led to the normative role of the collector today and advocating for a collector as an ethical and socially engaged agent in the artworld. For this, they have initiated the working group Ethics of Collecting that has authored a code of conduct for contemporary art collectors. Their goal is to rework the ethical dimensions of collecting and promote the adoption of ethical behavior and accountability in collecting as a means to create non-hierarchical alliances with artists and other cultural workers and to support art as a possibility for affective encounters and for opening discursive and social spaces wherein transformational work can take place.
The Kerenidis Pepe Collection has been represented in the acquisition committee of the Centre National des Arts Plastiques (2012–2015), the board of the curatorial office Council, and was named in 2020 in the SUBSTANCE 100 list by Collecteurs.
INFRASTRUCTURE & PROJECT ADVISOR
DESIGN: Goda Budvytytė
TECHNICAL DEVELOPMENT: Thodoris Tsirkas
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Iordanis Kerenidis (he/him) is a Paris- and Αthens-based quantum computer scientist and contemporary art collector. He received his PhD from the Computer Science Department at the University of California, Berkeley in 2004, and after a two-year postdoctoral position at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he joined the Centre National de Recherche Scientifique CNRS in Paris as a Research Director. He has been the coordinator of a number of EU-funded projects including an ERC Grant, and he is the founder and director of the Paris Centre for Quantum Computing. He is currently working as the Head of Algorithms Int. at QC Ware Corp. Iordanis has been collecting art with his partner Piergiorgio Pepe since 2006. The Kerenidis Pepe Collection has organized Phenomenon since 2015, a biennial program for contemporary art on the island of Anafi, Greece, for which they received in 2018 the Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage Award. Kerenidis was a member of the acquisition committee of the Centre National des Arts Plastiques (2012-2015).
Piergiorgio Pepe (he/him) is a Paris- and Αthens-based ethics practitioner and contemporary art collector. Through his advisory firm Quantum Ethics, he has advised organizations on ethics and compliance programs since 2018. From 2005 to 2018, he worked as an ethics officer in the pharmaceutical industry. Before then, he worked for 10 years as a senior EU lawyer for an international city law firm in London. He’s a qualified lawyer in Italy, England and Wales. He’s also active in academia (Sciences Po, INSEAD, and Seton Hall), where he regularly teaches courses on business ethics and ethics in the art sector. Piergiorgio has been collecting art with his partner Iordanis Kerenidis since 2006. The Kerenidis Pepe Collection has organized Phenomenon since 2015, a biennial program for contemporary art on the island of Anafi, Greece, for which they received in 2018 the Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage Award. Piergiorgio was a member of the board of the curatorial office Council until 2022.