Podcast cu Marius Persinaru: Whatever you say to someone, I don’t think you can draw someone who is not curious into a gallery. I’d tell them they don’t know what they’re missing. That’s the argument I used in business.

October 06, 2023

Listen to the podcast here and to all the episodes here.


Marius Perșinaru is entrepreneur and C-level leader with a +30 year expertise in organizational transformation as CEO and Executive Board member within a large number of corporations. He is a supporter of contemporary art and of arts, in general. Marius the now the guest of Accelerator Today podcast.


Andrei Breahnă: Where does your interest in art stem from?

Marius Perșinaru: Art for me has many meanings. One is the aesthetic side, where I learned to like beauty. I think it comes from high school. I was lucky because, in high school, I had a teacher who gave us a subscription to the Athenaeum. After that we started discovering other forms of art. Contemporary art interests me out of curiosity. The question I ask myself, for example, about those things in contemporary art that I don’t understand is: Do those who claim to understand it – why do they claim to understand it? Perhaps there is a logic to it, some strange phenomenon is going on and I struggle to discover it. Coming to Gaep I managed to find some answers.

One of the three things I set out to convey to you today relates to one of the issues I have identified in contemporary art in relation to society – namely: What does art (and especially contemporary art) do – does it give answers or ask questions?


Andrei Breahnă: In your role as a leader for more than 30 years, you have dealt with many different categories of stakeholders and audiences. One of the biggest challenges is that we are a niche business and the stakes are how to grow the audience.

How do you see the art world from outside-in, with a critical eye, and how should we act to reach as many people as possible?


Marius Perșinaru: In business, we have been taught to pay attention to the importance of ecosystems. You have to understand that, in the world, it is not just you and your potential customers. There are a lot of satellites around you and it is not very clear who is actually at the centee. If you look at business, it is about ecosystems where everyone is acting – vendors, end- customers, you may have partners, and there may be other entities revolving around your end customer. For a couple of years now, and very strongly from January 2023, the idea of an EU taxonomy has emerged and ESG redefines the concept of stakeholders. We live in an environment and a business needs to be mindful of how it affects that said environment.

In business you cannot imagine that it is just you – the seller – and the customer – the one you are selling to. I think the main thing that should happen in art is your perception of this ecosystem.

I was reading an article somewhere about when the first professionals arose in the area of art dealers in the 18th century. I think things have moved very little since then. From the 18th century until now, in art, there have been art dealers and artists as players (of course I’m oversimplifying). If you want to achieve more success and evolution, you have to understand that there is also the rest of the world – very simplistically – those to whom art is addressed.


Andrei Breahnă: and who represent a very large category of people who can become collectors, actively engaged with the messages of art.

This new paradigm, including the legal one, requires organizations to behave differently. What do you think is the role of art in this new equation? Can art become a vector for innovation or even change? How could we perhaps position ourselves more directly towards these communities?


Marius Perșinaru: The closest answer comes from another valence of art that I believe in. I believe that art also has a healing role. We have already discussed the ability of art to heal organizations, to improve and help in the area of culture change. I believe art can help organizations in any element of change.


Andrei Breahnă: So somehow we should find mechanisms so that we address the issues of the organizations or simply enter into dialogue with them. For example, a French artist, who works in the area of hybridization, using different materials, told me last year that he was invited to do a residency for more than 6 months in a company that produced models using techniques that he also used. He was invited not only to work there as an artist, but also to actually work with the departments in that company, interacting and “borrowing” the technology that the company had to do much more ambitious things.

What would be the journey for that to happen? I now see an obstacle that we can discuss and that is that contemporary art seems very inaccessible and even elitist. Why do you think this happens?


Marius Perșinaru: The first thing is that you, in art, have to think about your existence in these ecosystems. The ecosystem is no longer composed of only two entities – dealers and artists, it is more complex, with more entities. The second very interesting aspect, which is much harder to solve, is education. The problem with art and being perceived as elitist – yes, that’s true, but it depends on which art. Of course we’re not talking about decorative art. In my opinion, in order for contemporary, “heavier” art to be extended to a larger number of people, who might be able to “taste” it – education is needed: direct, or indirect, but definitely education is needed.


Andrei Breahnă: For me education is a very difficult word. Who should do provide education and in a  relatively short time, because we, cultural managers, want to grow generations of artists who live from their practice, being supported by a wide audience. What could we do in a business cycle of 3-5 years to produce a visible change in Romania and significantly increase the number of collectors and the audience for contemporary art?


Marius Perșinaru: It depends on the issue you want to raise. If the problem is audience education – then you have to imagine what the ecosystem is. The first thing that comes to mind is why you haven’t worked with schoold,I know you have already started to work with business – educating employees in the different art forms. It all starts from you – from someone who wants to think about this ecosystem and put those forces into the ecosystem to bring about change.


Andrei Breahnă: We are faced with very great opportunities because we live in the world of images and art has a very important word to say, because art is the primary language behind images. Art gives you the code of understanding, but, of course, you have to lean into this complexity.

What would you say to someone you want to spark their interest in art?


Marius Perșinaru: Whatever you say to someone, I don’t think you can get someone who is not curious to draw them into a gallery. I’d tell them they don’t know what they’re missing. That’s the argument I used in business. Inviting people to a place where I have something to show them and where they find something they resonate with.