of Artworld has landed in Seoul this week for the first edition of Frieze in Asia, as the vibrant South Korean capital seeks to establish itself as the region’s next arts hub. While previous Frieze trade fairs have been held in traditional arts capitals such as London, Paris and New York, industry experts said Seoul was the natural choice as the first Asian version of the prestigious event. I’m here.

South Korea has emerged as a cultural powerhouse in recent years, with the global success of the Oscar-winning movie “Parasite” and the Netflix series “The Squid Game,” and K-pop superstars BTS dominating the Billboard music charts. has emerged as “Freeze Soul is looking at cities where culture is highly valued,” Patrick Lee, the first director of Freeze Soul, told AFP.

Seoul boasts a rich arts scene, with “incredibly talented artists, world-class museums, corporate collections, non-profits, biennales and galleries, making it an ideal location for art fairs.” The fair will also be seen by the art world as a lucrative Asian art market hub for a long time, owing to the looming financial and political uncertainties and the quarantine restrictions still imposed on visitors. It is held while turning away from Hong Kong which has been made.

Alice Lung, director of Galerie Perrotin, which opened its second gallery in Seoul last month, said: Tim Schneider, Art Business Editor at Artnet News, believes Seoul has “leveled up” on the international art stage with the opening of major Western galleries such as Pace, Lehmann Maupin, Perrotin and Thaddeus Ropac, followed by Frieze. said it was confirmed. “Freeze Soul is just the final confirmation that there was demand,” he told AFP.

Lisa accepts the Best K-Pop award for “Lalisa” on stage at the 2022 MTV VMAs at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ.

COVID boost

The local art market has experienced explosive growth since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, with record visitor numbers and sales at local art fairs last year. “When borders were closed for a while, people focused on browsing online,” Galeries Perrotin’s Lang told AFP. “This has allowed Korean artists and galleries to grow rapidly without physical limitations and attract new collectors, especially millennials and Generation Z,” she said.

Housing prices soared during this time, prompting many young South Koreans to look for alternative investment options such as stocks, cryptocurrencies and, for some, artwork.Hwang Dal-soon, Chairman of the Korea Gallery Association said, “Many young people have suffered bitter losses investing in stocks and cryptocurrencies, and the artwork seemed like a safe bet.”

The late Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee left behind a mountain of antiques and art, including works by Claude Monet, Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso. Long ownership, Huang added. Schneider said that South Korea is “a microcosm of Asia” in terms of the rise of collectors born after 1980, which is having a major impact on the current market.

“Buyers in this age group and region are not only reshaping the hierarchy of which artists are most in demand internationally, they are also significantly speeding up the pace at which artists move from emerging levels to premium prices and global prestige. ,” he added. According to a July report by the state arts agency, the Korean art market in the first half of 2022 is estimated at about 532.9 billion won, more than in 2021 as a whole.

fresh approach

Thaddaeus Ropac, who opened a gallery in Seoul last year, said South Korea offers a well-balanced collector base. “I am no longer young, I have a very established collector who has incredible experience and has been collecting art for 30 or 40 years. See the results,” Ropac told AFP. And I think it’s quite amazing in terms of its quality.”

“But at the same time, I also see a very fresh new approach to art from a young collector,” he added. An Austrian gallerist who started working with South Korean artists nearly 20 years ago said the South Korean art scene — artists, curators and collectors — has been “built on for generations.” The appearance will undoubtedly open new doors for the Korean art market, but it’s also “a result of what happened to Seoul,” he said.

Schneider adds: “Historically, whenever a Grade A international trade fair sets up shop in a new city, we also ensure that the art market infrastructure there is sustainable.” “I wonder if Asia, a vast continent of many nations with unique cultural histories and vast wealth, can maintain two legitimate art market hubs.” I think it’s misguided to act like one,” he said. – AFP

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