We would like to introduce you to Benjamin Tholen, Auctionata expert in Villager and Nomad Carpets as well as Antique Killims.
A picture, equal to classical modern paintings in its expressive quality and colours, was carelessly lying on the linoleum floor of a tiny kitchen in a concrete tower block apartment. Seeing this image was the beginning of Benjamin Tholen's passion for carpets and rugs.
He was shooting commercials back then and a stage designer had recommended the store of a restorer in Berlin-Spandau for a new floor cover. The huge amount of knotted works evoked long forgotten memories of his grandfather's carpet trades. It was here when he discovered the special piece that started his passion for collecting: Initially sold as a “Kurdish” rug by the restorer, that carpet turned out to be an extraordinary Caucasian Kazakh and offered many mysteries the expert was delighted to solve. His interest piqued, he started to read about the subject. More books and more carpets followed. An expert nowadays, Benjamin Tholen is mainly interested in antique carpets and rugs of rural and nomadic origin. The traces of time in these specimens tell of changing histories, and only serve to increase their appeal.
His horizont was widened when he discovered his passion for kilims and other flatweaves from the region. Benjamin Tholen collects carpets and rugs from the Caucasus mountains to Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, but also from the Atlas mountains – generally from regions where old cultural properties “stayed alive” longer than in industrialized metropolitan areas.
Carpets and rugs serve as another entryway to understanding art: the weaver is anonymous and often female, her creative work is a communal tradition, the artist herself stays in the background as a craftswoman. The art doesn't originate from the artist but through the artist. Having been bitten by the “rug bug”, Benjamin Tholen's passion for rugs has never ceased – it is a source of inspiration, a research object, which he finds in auctions, museums and galleries as well as his own ever-growing collection. Benjamin Tholen's expertise is distinguished by his knowledge of history, knotting techniques and characteristics of particular provenances.
Benjamin Tholen lives and works in Berlin.