“All of Yayoi Kusama’s paintings have already been sold? I took a vacation just in time for Frieze Seoul… .” (A Chinese collector)
On the 6th, Seoul became the ‘global art capital’ where ‘big’ collectors and gallerists from around the world meet. This is because many of the biggest names in the art world attended the ‘Korea International Art Fair ( KIAF ) – Frieze Seoul’ , which opened for VIPs at COEX in Samseong-dong, Seoul on this day . The exhibition hall was crowded with audiences wanting to see the works of the masters. Davids Warner sold a Catherine Bernhardt painting valued at $2.2 million (about 3 billion won) before the exhibition began. Immediately after the opening, Yayoi Kusama’s ‘Pumpkin of the Red God’ painting worth $5.8 million (approximately 7.7 billion won) was sold. White Cube, which opened a branch in Korea this year, announced that it had sold works by Georg Baselitz and others worth billions of won. Perrotin Gallery sold a 780 million won painting by Japanese artist Takashi Murakami before the opening of the exhibition.
○Wealthy people from Korea, China, and Japan flock to Freeze
At the event venue on this day, domestic and foreign businessmen, including Kim Beom-soo, former chairman of the Kakao board of directors, and New World Development Chairman Adrian Cheong, a Hong Kong real estate tycoon and a ‘big hit’ in the art market, also stood out. Top stars such as RM and Jimin of BTS and Jisoo and Rosé of Blackpink also visited the Freeze event venue메이저놀이터. Yang Jeong-moo, a professor at Korea National University of Arts, said, “ KIAF- Freeze has become like Korea’s representative cultural festival where the wealthy and celebrities gather.” Due to the subdued art market atmosphere compared to last year, the number of ‘super-luxury works’ worth more than 10 billion won has decreased. However, the art world’s opinion is that there have been many masterpieces worth hundreds of millions to billions of won that are ‘known to everyone’. The progress of Korean writers also stood out. Face Gallery sold Lee Kun-yong’s work for 317 million won. An official at Tina Kim Gallery said, “Nowadays, monochromatic paintings have become so famous that foreign collectors immediately buy them without any explanation. Even today, we sold Park Seo-bo’s work for about 210 million won.” Kukje Gallery also sold works by Ham Kyung-ah and Kang Seo-kyung for a price worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
KIAF is also evaluated to have improved significantly compared to last year. Lee Hwa-ik, CEO of Lee Hwa-ik Gallery, said, “The standard of works presented by galleries has also improved, and the operating system and facilities, including admission times, have been improved overall.”
Thanks to this, there were many places in KIAF that recorded ‘real sales’. Hakgojae Gallery sold artist Jeong Young-joo’s Daldongne painting for 80 million won. Gallery Now sold artist Ko Sang-woo’s work for 29 million won. The art world and collectors say that the box office success of KIAF-
Freeze on this day proved Seoul’s potential to become the ‘Asian art capital’ following Hong Kong. Jeong Do-ryun, deputy director of Hong Kong M+ Museum, who we met that day , said, “ The level and scale of KIAF- Frieze Seoul are in no way inferior to Hong Kong Art Basel.”