The 18th Korea International Art Fair Held
KIAF (Korea International Art Fair), one of the most famous art fairs in Korea, was held in Seoul, Korea from September 26 to 29.
This year was KIAF’s 18th, with 175 galleries from 17 countries participating. According to the authorities, about 82,000 people visited the event and the sales recorded 31 billion won. This is an increase of more than 30% from last year. While it is difficult to directly feel the high sales figures on site, it seems that the number of general visitors has increased significantly. Especially among the younger generation. This may be due to the fact that contemporary art has become a part of hipster culture. The younger generation tends to prefer contemporary art. They like to show what they are enjoying these days and what they like. It is unclear to what extent the number of visitors has an impact on the overall sales, but it seems to have some influence.
KIAF ART SEOUL 2019, one of the most famous art fairs in Seoul, offered not only contemporary artworks through participating galleries, but also solo projects, highlight sections, various talk programs on topical issues, and special exhibitions. For this year, KIAF prepared a special exhibition titled “Romanticism in History – Korean Modernist Paintings” to shed light on contemporary Korean artists.
The purpose of this project seems to be to achieve diversity in the composition of the fair. However, with many galleries showcasing leading contemporary artists such as Lee Woo Hwan, Yoo Young Guk, and Nam June Paik, it was not possible to make a significant difference between the gallery booths and the project. However, there were some excellent galleries that focused on Korean contemporary art, introducing young and fresh artists and presenting experimental works. As if to prove the prominence of these galleries, many of them had red stickers under their works. This may be a confirmation that there is no longer the certainty that leads to the sale of top contemporary artists.
Participating Galleries Many international galleries participate in KIAF, Korea’s leading art fair. PACE Gallery is participating for the second time since last year, and Lehmann Maupin is also participating for the first time this year. This year, Lehmann Maupin is participating for the first time, and Whitestone Gallery, which specializes in the Asian market, is also participating.
With the participation of so many international galleries, KIAF has the potential to grow even further. Challenging works do not mean unmarketable, and we hope to see more experimental works. Don’t be satisfied with just the title, it is the largest and most famous art fair in Korea.
Article written by: Jeongeun Jo
Born in Korea, lives in Japan. She is one of the members of TRiCERA who graduated from the Graduate School of Fine Arts, Tokyo University of the Arts. She is also an artist herself.