Singaporean Collector Opens His Doors To Give China Society A Glimpse Of His Massive Collection
With signs that the global art market, particularly the Chinese and emerging art market, is beginning to turn around, following stronger-than-expected auction results and growing signs that the Chinese yuan’s increasing internationalization will pay off for collectors in the long term, more collectors of contemporary Chinese artwork are being profiled by art publications and newspapers around the world. Taiwan’s Straits Times recently profiled one such collector, a plastic surgeon in Singapore whose collection is among the region’s largest.
Dr. Woffles Wu, a renaissance man of sorts, who makes his living in plastic surgery but dabbles in film production and art collecting, has spent the last two years building his own personal Chinese contemporary art “Maosoleum,” comprising nearly 500 pieces. This week, he opened his doors to Singapore’s China Society, a private club of primarily English-educated professionals, to give Chinese art aficionados the opportunity to catch a glimpse of his impressive collection. With interest in Chinese art rising among collectors such as Dr. Wu in the Asia-Pacific region, it will be interesting to see if private museums like his, or larger publicly-funded additions to museums, will become commonplace for exhibiting contemporary Chinese art.
The Straits Times profiles Dr. Wu’s impressive, 12,000 sq.ft warehouse of Chinese art:
PLASTIC surgeon Woffles Wu has collected so many Chinese art pieces that he could not move around in his house in Thomson without knocking into one of them.
So, two years ago, he decided it was time to set up a museum dedicated to contemporary Chinese art. He named it the Museum of Contemporary Chinese Art in Singapore, or The ‘Maosoleum’ because of its many Mao-related pieces.
[Wu] estimated that at least half of his collection of about 500 pieces is now displayed in the 12,000 sq ft warehouse space in Kaki Bukit Road. He spent nearly two years painstakingly setting up the museum. The art work ranges from paintings and digital media to large, electronically operated installations created by Chinese artists.
Freelance art consultant Ng Ping Ping said: ‘I have a lot of respect for Dr Wu. This is a very impressive private collection and it’s overwhelming to see a Singaporean so passionate about art.’
Dr Wu said he started collecting contemporary Chinese art as a 12-year-old when his mother joined the China Club in Hong Kong. It was at the club that he saw his first contemporary Chinese art piece, which sparked his love for the art.
He is more fascinated with contemporary Chinese art than Western art because he feels that the latter is ‘a little jaded, with no story to tell because its culture is well-formed’. He declined to say how much he has spent on his collection but said the museum cost him more than $100,000 to set up.
He previously approached the Singapore Art Museum to donate some paintings but decided later to have his own museum as he wanted to have better control over the selection and preservation of the paintings.