Interview
Collector's Eye

'Issy Wood is one to watch': inside the collection of Raimund Berthold

We talk to the fashion designer about lending a work to the Old Vic theatre and how he dreams of buying the Beyeler's entire Stingel show

The fashion designer's collecting career began with prints by Andy Warhol

The fashion designer Raimund Berthold has been dressing the art world for almost a decade. His sharp, largely monochrome outfits are coveted by artists and dealers alike, while his campaigns are marked by art collaborations. This autumn, the Austrian, London-based designer launches Core, a “non-gendered and non-seasonal” capsule collection all in black. It is released online, allowing Berthold to dodge the tireless fashion treadmill of churning out more than four collections a year. “It just felt unsustainable and an old-fashioned way of doing the cycle,” he says. It also freed up his time to “link up with interesting people, including the art world”. We talk to Berthold about his contemporary art collection and the artists he believes are on-trend this season.

The Art Newspaper: What was the first work you bought?

Raimund Berthold: I started collecting with my partner around ten years ago. I was living in New York at the time, spending a lot of time walking around the galleries in Chelsea. We found these Andy Warhol prints for the flat I was moving into; that’s how we suddenly went very contemporary with what we were buying. We had a Greta Garbo, a Mao and a Paramount.

What is your most recent purchase?

We recently bought a Franz West; it’s an amazing piece that I’m very happy with. It’s one of his papier-mâché pieces on a metal stand, in shocking yellow. We also bought an Issy Wood and a Kaari Upson. I’m a big fan of Wood: she’s definitely one to watch. Issy’s piece is a painting on velvet, a fly made out of balloons—basically a fly on velvet. Upson’s is all black: a standing piece made of charcoal and Aqua-Resin. It’s a painting that you can lean against the wall.

What is your most valuable work?

I think it’s probably an Isa Genzken sculpture made of concrete.

If money were no object, what would be your dream purchase?

I’m not that humble, so it would have to be Rudolf Stingel’s entire show at the Fondation Beyeler in Basel, Switzerland! Or the Sarah Lucas show at the New Museum in New York; I’ve been dreaming about both of those shows, I thought they were amazing. I loved the Stingel show. It really hit home; it just made me really happy and emotional. The same was true for the Lucas show: it was so fun and serious and silly and beautiful. It just pushed every single button for me.

If your house were on fire, which work would you save?

This is impossible to answer. I would probably just have to let everything burn down. They would all have to die and live in my memory. I would definitely save my partner first and then watch all the little art children die. It would be a really sad day.

Which work in your collection requires the most maintenance?

We have one work by Korakrit Arunanondchai, which contains live cacti: they need a bit of care. I’m not a plant or animal person at all, so this really freaked me out. But they’re actually super easy as it turns out. Anything electronic is always a bit of an issue; installations that include anything electric, like videos in some kind of special screen, often go wrong.

Where is the most surprising place you have displayed a work?

Probably [London’s] Old Vic theatre. We’re patrons of the Old Vic and we had a big painting that was 3m x 3m by Mary Weatherford. Instead of it going to storage, the Old Vic said they’d love to have it and hang it in their staircase. It has just come down because the theatre is going through a major refurbishment at the moment.

Which artists, dead or alive, would you invite to your dream dinner party?

It would have to be fun, so I can see someone like Franz West, who would just be kind of mad, but also Tracey Emin: she would be fun because she has a lot of opinions. Then also someone like Leonardo da Vinci—just from a completely different world and century—would be really fascinating. I’d love to have them all!

Which purchase do you most regret?

I’m not a regretful person. I only regret what I haven’t bought, or missed out on. I haven’t regretted anything and that’s the honest truth.