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CultureSecrets: Interview with Krystyna Winckler

CultureSecrets, in collaboration with Singulart, invites you to meet the Dutch artist Pieter Ceizer in his studio in Paris. During this occasion, we interviewed Krystyna Winckler, founder of CultureSecrets.

CultureSecrets was founded 6 years ago. What inspired you to create CultureSecrets?

Having a passion for culture and being a contemporary art lover, especially for photography. I always found it complicated and time-consuming to find beautiful cultural events. I used to have a large number of subscriptions (Théâtre de la Ville, Festival d’Automne, Amis du Centre Pompidou, Palais de Tokyo …). Then I realised how fragmented culture was.

This is why I decided to find a solution and give access to exclusive culture in one click. No need to search anymore. In one glance, we offer each week a selection of “must-go” events and create exclusive events for our members.

For our collectors discovering you, what is a CultureSecrets card?

The Cultural Card is available online to buy or to offer as a gift. On our website, the card gives access to 4, 10 or 20 seats of your choice for exclusive events, including original productions of CultureSecrets. The card is usable over a period of one year. The events’ tickets are deducted from the package. So, the events are no longer directly paid for. The card is rechargeable and available from 69 euros for 4 tickets.

How do you select events and artists?

Our experts constantly survey the art scene and select a total of more than 600 events per year available every week. We offer skip-the-line passes, guided tours, openings of the most beautiful exhibitions, plays and concerts. CultureSecrets sets up year-round partnerships with the largest institutions and galleries.

Partners are welcoming us with open arms thanks to our editorial line. Additionally, with nearly 40,000 followers on our Instagram: we offer them great media visibility. We recommend them to our clients via social media and word of mouth.

CultureSecrets event with photographer Peter Lindbergh – Krystyna Winckler
© Maurine Tric

What is your favourite memory at CultureSecrets?

I have so many beautiful memories at CultureSecrets. We had the chance to meet some of the greatest artists of our time such as Takashi Murakami, Yan Pei Ming, Liu Bolin, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, or in another field David Foenkinos, Maxime Chattam or Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Difficult to choose! I will say that the very private meeting that we organized with Peter Lindbergh at the Giacometti Institute last year, a few months before his death, will undoubtedly remain the most powerful event that I experienced at CultureSecrets.

If everything was possible, what would CultureSecrets look like to you?

An app that I would be active in all the cultural cities worldwide with access, in one click, to the most beautiful events of the city.

What are your long-term ambitions for CultureSecrets?

To become the reference platform 2.0 in culture! We have also just created with the Société Générale a Visa ART card. It’s a nice project that I will see expand in other spheres and loyalty programs.

CultureSecrets event with photographer Peter Lindbergh – Krystyna Winckler
© Maurine Tric

Why exclusively Paris? Do you plan to develop CultureSecrets in other cities, like in Hong Kong for example?

We are considering international expansion but with the current complicated situation, it is not the right time! Even less so in Hong Kong, the combination of Covid and political crisis does not bring a peaceful climate to launch. We have to be patient.

How has COVID-19 impacted (and continue to impact) CultureSecrets? Are there fewer events?

Like most businesses in the cultural industry, we had to suspend our activities in mid-March due to the government’s measures.

We resumed our activities at the beginning of September and noticed great enthusiasm among our members. Our clients are eager to continue to experience our events. Therefore, we have adapted our content to the health situation and enriched our online offer with masterclasses, webinars and other remote offers. Similarly, we are creating new outdoor formats respectful of barrier rules, such as this beautiful walk along the Seine in the footsteps of Edward Hopper in Paris. So there are no fewer events, I would say we even have more!

What is the must-go CultureSecrets event for this fall?

Every week, the CultureSecrets program has a lot of great events and surprises in store for you… It’s hard to name just one!

In October, there is an event at the private studio of the famous street artist Jordane Saget, a new CultureSecrets tour on Edward Hopper’s journey to Paris, an introduction to the Japanese Tea Ceremony, or private drawing lessons at the Maison Deyrolle, the choice is yours. We are also developing private online events: a series of online Masterclasses will begin in October, including a masterclass on Cindy Sherman, to whom the Louis Vuitton Foundation is dedicating a major retrospective this fall. The famous artist Richard Texier will offer a private virtual tour to discover his impressive studio in the company of Yoyo Maeght.

Art is increasingly digitalizeded. What do you think about the future of art and exhibitions in today’s digital world?

We are indeed experiencing real acceleration. The fact that Art Basel, fairs and galleries, in general, can continue to exist thanks to digital technology is laudable. These institutions are experiencing a real digital revolution and have no choice but to adapt. For the moment, some tools such as the viewing room are still not very interactive and slow. However, we are already seeing considerable progress in a few months during these new means of digital distribution. With new initiatives such as international online sales, the biggest players in the art market have not wasted any time!

For museums and institutions, and those in particular whose model is essentially based on visits, the digital challenge remains huge and complicated. Overall, we are still faced with a common problem: “Art rejoices, art brings people together, art is shared“. But the question remains how to get amateurs to join, in front of their screen and alone on their couch? This is a real challenge.

Could you name 3 artworks or 3 artists you discovered on Singulart?

I like Hugo Pondz’s landscapes very much, especially all these shades of blue that blend together without mixing, creating this horizontality in the canvases. I find his painting Le Souffle de l’Été really striking, because it opens on a horizon that seems to have no limits.

In another style, I discovered the artist Monika Waraxa. It is not because she is Polish like me that I am particularly interested in her. I see in her work a really interesting way of representing women. I intend to continue to follow her evolution, because I have the impression that she is a committed artist that we will hear about in a few years.

Finally, I discovered the artist Pieter Ceizer. I really like his colorful work and his search for bright colors. I find that one feels a great feeling of escape in front of his work, the need to go beyond the limits, the norms… It is with this interest that we have scheduled a meeting with this artist in mid-October. CultureSecrets is always looking for original and talented artists to accompany them in their encounters with the public and I think, in all modesty, we are succeeding.

For you, what is the role of art in today’s society?

In my opinion, after what we have just gone through, art will regain its main function, that is to say, to connect individuals. The future of culture in the health crisis was nevertheless a real issue; whether or not museums would be able to reopen or whether certain cultural programs would survive this prolonged absence of the public. Even if it is too early to draw conclusions, we still notice museums are slowly filling up again with visitors.

Art will play this role of bringing people together and get back in touch. In Paris, we are fortunate enough to have a diverse cultural offer. I salute the responsiveness of museums, theatres, and concert halls. They were all able to accommodate so that art could continue living and bringing people together.