Having amassed an extensive collection that traverses Australian and international visual art, architecture, literature, music and contemporary fashion, collector Theodore Wohng’s archive is built around the premise of intense respect for artists and strong beliefs surrounding a collector’s obligations to both artists and the public.
Theodore Wohng only wears black. His straight, hip-length hair blends into swathes of dark cloth and he tells me that as he ages – as his hair gradually turns white – he will start to introduce grey and then white into his wardrobe.
Wohng, a trained composer, has amassed works by a litany of artists, designers, composers and architects spanning any number of genres and eras. But despite its multiplicity, his collection is underpinned by an unspoken thematic thrust. Almost all the works drill into the darkness of humanity and the strange beauty that is inherent in such a state, creating a spectral and labyrinthine portrait of the human condition.
The collection comprises more than 300 works, including prints and sketches by Odilon Redon, Goya, Louise Bourgeois, Dorothea Tanning, photographs by Sophie Calle, architectural models by Rem Koolhaas and manuscripts by John Cage.
Recently, Wohng has been drawn into the public side of the art world, following years of conscious discretion. He is a member of the China Art Foundation and is an ambassador for this year’s Melbourne Art Fair. In his own creative practice, he has collaborated with artist Brook Andrew on the film work De Anima for The Cinemas Project, which debuted at Bendigo Art Gallery in April. He also has plans to explore his extensive collection through a series of exhibitions within his apartment, the first of which will proffer his collection of Redon Noirs – the third largest holding of its kind after... Subscribe to read this article in full
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