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Contemporary art trends and news from Asia and beyond

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Archive for the ‘Korean’ Category

Art about curators: Korean artist Yang Ah Ham’s No Nonsense solo show

Posted by artradar on April 13, 2010


"Out of Frame"
“Out of Frame” video still

 Courtesy the Artsonje Centre

 KOREAN CONTEMPORARY ART

 

Netherlands-based Korean artist Yang Ah Ham turns her focus on the art world itself.

In her work “‘Chocolate Head” , a series of head sculptures of famous curators around the world, the art world becomes an unusual subject  in her multimedia solo show “Adjective Life in the Nonsense Factory” at Art Sonje Center in Korea in March – April 2010.

Her works which focus on the individual are defined, she says, by adjectives, rather than verbs or nouns.

As a companion piece to Ham’s melted chocolate sculptures, she has also produced a video called “Out of Frame” which captures performance art based around the chocolate heads. This series of works examines power and the tension it creates.

Another piece “Collected Anonymous 2006-2007,” features a collection of elastic hair bands that Ham found in the streets of Amsterdam. She brought them back to Korea and conducted DNA tests, even though there was little way of finding out whom the hair bands belonged to.

Read more: KoreaTimes.co.kr

Get info: Artsonje.org

See videos: InsaArtSpace.or.kr

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Posted in Events, Food, Fragile art, Human Body, Identity art, Korea, Korean, Performance, Sculpture, Video | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Four Asian artists nominated for NYC PULSE Awards

Posted by artradar on March 9, 2010


EMERGING ASIAN ARTISTS –  ART PRIZES

 

Four Asian artists were nominated for Pulse Awards at the PULSE art fair  which took place in New York City and Miami between 4-7 March 2010: Shun Duk Kang from Korea, Hiroshige Furuhaka from Japan, Farsad Labbauf from Iran and Sopheap Pich from Cambodia.

Though none of these four artists won either the PULSE award or the People’s Choice award, the fair gave them extensive exposure (they each won their own booths) and point to their status as emerging names in the global scene.

Shin Duk Kang, Heaven and Earth, 2008

Shin Duk Kang, Heaven and Earth, 2008

Shin Duk Kang, a South Korean artist, is represented by Seoul’s Galerie Pici. She creates installation art that reflect the limits of her material while evoking nature in her work. She also makes prints, which utilize geometric forms to continue exploring the subject of nature.

Hiroshige Fukuhara, The Night Became Starless, 2008

Hiroshige Fukuhara, The Night Became Starless, 2008

Ai Kowada Gallery 9 represents Hiroshige Fukuhara, who specialises in drawings with graphite and black gesso on wood. Viewers are drawn to the simplicity of his works, as well as the subtle addition of graphite, which makes his black-on-black drawings shimmer from certain angles. Before PULSE, he was featured in PS1’s 2001 show “BUZZ CLUB: News from Japan.”

Farsad Labbauf, Joseph, 2007

Farsad Labbauf, Joseph, 2007

Iranian artist Farsad Labbauf combines figurative painting with Iranian calligraphy to create a unified image, regardless of the content of the words or pictures within that image. He refers to his Persian heritage as his inspiration, especially its carpet-making tradition: that unrelated elements were able to come together in linear patterns to create a whole. He concludes that his work is “often an attempt for the union of the internal.”

Sopheap Pich, Cycle, 2005

Sopheap Pich, Cycle, 2005

Sopheap Pich is a Cambodian artist represented by Tyler Rollins Fine Art of New York. His work mostly consists of sculptures of bamboo and rattan that evoke both biomorphic figures and his childhood during the Khmer Rogue period. He has become a major figure in the Cambodian contemporary art scene.

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Posted in Asian, Cambodian, Drawing, Emerging artists, Fairs, Iranian, Japanese, Korean, New York, Painting, Prizes, Sculpture, USA | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Korean artist Kim Joon discusses tattoos, taboos and his inspiration – interview

Posted by artradar on December 2, 2009


KOREAN CONTEMPORARY ART

The powerful works by Kim Joon depicting intriguingly ‘tattooed’ bodies beg for context. However, to more deeply understand Joon’s meditation on the meaning of tattoo as a social phenomenon and uniquely human act, a viewer must first appreciate the man and his personal experience. Kim Joon, born in 1966 in Seoul, has walked many paths in life: he is a renowned contemporary artist, a professor at Kongju National University in Korea, and is a former soldier in the Korean military.

Recently Joon has established a growing presence in the international art scene, gaining exposure in London at this year’s highly successful Korean Eye show, and in October 2009 his ‘Birdland-Armani’ piece was auctioned at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong for almost twice its estimated price, selling for approximately $17,560 USD. Art Radar catches up with Joon before the opening of his ‘Tattoo and Taboo’ exhibition, which runs from November 18th-Dec 13th at the Sundaram Tagore Gallery in Hong Kong, to discuss his fascination with tattoos, his surprising journey to finding inspiration, and the Korean art scene.

Note: Kim Joon’s comments were directly translated by Ms. Inhee Iris Moon, an independent curator based in New York, with whom he has worked extensively. Any references of Joon appearing to speak in the third person are attributed to this. Interview by Erin Wooters.

Kim Joon, Bird Land - Chrysler, 2008, digital print, 120 x 210 cm. Image courtesy of the Sundaram Tagore Gallery.

Where did you grow up and where were you educated? Were there major influences or people in your life pushing you toward or discouraging you from the arts?

Joon: He was born and raised in Seoul, and attended Hongik University, a well known school for art education. No one encouraged him to enter the arts, in fact his father was very opposed to him becoming an artist.

When did you first start creating art?

Joon: He started creating art in college. Generally he doodled as a child, but did not consider becoming a serious artist until he was attending university and studying art.

In which countries and cities do you spend most of your time?

Joon: Korea and Seoul

Do you have a deep connection to places or cultures outside Korea?

Joon: Although he was born and raised in Korea and really never spent time outside of Seoul, he has and maintains a close connection to Western culture through AFKN, which is an English radio program. It is produced by the U.S. military—it is a military station. He was deeply influenced by the things that he heard from radio… Also through entertainment, such as movies and rock music. He has built his connections to the outside world through media culture.

Kim Joon, Cradle Song - Ferragamo, 2009, digital print, 160 x 80 cm. Image courtesy of the Sundaram Tagore Gallery.

Do you have any any tattoos, and if so did you get them before or after joining the military?

Joon: Just one. I got it after joining the military.

Which artists do you admire?

Joon: More musicians than artists, actually. Jimi Hendrix is my hero, my personal god.

Which artists do you personally collect?

Joon: Young Korean contemporary artists, like Joonsung Bae.

When did you first become interested in the idea of tattoos?

Joon: I developed a very strong interest in it when I was in the army. But it was during college days that I first started working with the notion of tattoos.

What are your favorite things to do when you are not making art?

Joon: Listen to music, watch movies, and play with my daughter. She is 4.

Regarding your images, how do you create them?

Joon: First he uses 3-D animation software to create the body or bodies he wants, and he constructs them. Then after building the 3 dimensional body, he works to get the image he really desires. Then, he grafts on the type of skin he desires—it could be animal skin, artificial skin, human skin. It could be skin of a leather bag or skin of a shoe. Any kind of texture- it could be a hard baseball. He uses this surface skin and grafts it onto the 3 dimensional image he created. This computer program is called 3-D Studio Max. It is the program used to create Shrek and other 3D animation films.

So there is never any physical painting of models involved?

Joon: No.

How and why do you choose which gender and body type to use in the images? Is there a significance in your preference of male and female models?

Joon: He likes both, he is neutral. However, he has a strong admiration for black bodies. The ebony series represents his desire for a perfect black male body.

I notice in your previous work you sometimes use male models with less muscle tone. Is there a reason for this?

Joon: It could be the images with less muscle tone are the body types of Asian men, which are different from highly idealized perfected bodies.

Are the images intended to be at all sexual?

Joon: Because he is working with bodies, especially nude and highly idealized bodies, it became that way. However, he hasn’t intentionally created erotic images. The images in former series were not erotic bodies, they are more real bodies. As the work developed it became more sensual.

Some of your works include tattoos of logos. What is the significance of this, and how do you choose the company logos?

Joon: The selection of logos is pretty random, but the process involves digging out the pre-inscribed images that are embedded in his own mind. As a result, it could be any random logo. Of course he doesn’t have a special contract with any company. However, he tries to use logos that are really well known, that are universal and that everyone will recognize.

What special meaning does tattooing have to you?

Joon: There are two ways to identify his way of using tattoos. One is to express things that he cannot really negate. The other one is something that you really want to do but cannot do… It expresses things that cannot be erased, because tattoos are an inscription, a kind of mark that cannot be erased because it is a scar.

Is your work an expression of physical or spiritual beauty? Inner beauty or outer beauty?

Joon: You are absolutely right in saying that tattoo or tattooing is beyond the physical beauty because it encompasses the realm of repression and desire and beauty and scar. It is the doer side of tattoo and tattooing that he is much more interested. The process of tattooing itself is very painful, and the outcome could be very beautiful or ugly. You don’t know, but the willingness that goes into it is very spiritual.

Kim Joon, We - BMW, 2005, 190 x 120 cm. Image courtesy of the Sundaram Tagore Gallery.

Are these images also implying a group membership?

Joon: The ‘We’ series that he developed from 2005, with Starbucks and BMW, were the beginning of the idea of group consciousness. The Birdland series goes even deeper into that because it is a group of people all interlocked together becoming almost indistinguishable. It moves as a group consciousness.

What collective reality are the tattoos revealing?

Joon: In history, anthropologists will tell you that tattoos were used for different kinds of purposes. Sometimes they were used to define boundaries, or to have your own social groups. Then at other times it was to punish somebody in a negative sense, to reject you. There is a notion of acceptance and rejection- a sense of belongingness and non-belongingness. The tattoo or tattooing doesn’t have just one singular meaning, but has multiple meanings, and conflicting meanings.

Why do you want to explore things that are taboo, or feared by society?

Joon: I am intuitively very attracted to that, exploring the reasons behind our ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’. Because, they can be changed, too.

How common are tattoos in Korea?

Joon: There is still a lot of resistance to tattooing in Korea. It is still illegal to have tattoos done in tattoo parlors, but the tendancy now is that a lot of people forgive, or have aetheticians perform this kind of thing.

Is it difficult to find an underground tattoo parlor in Korea?

Joon: There are many of them, but it is just not legal. There is like a cult of these groups, but they are not officially approved by the government.

What is your view on the Korean military’s stance of tattoos on soldiers?

Joon: It is not allowed in the army or military situation. Actually, if you do have a large amount of tattoos on your body you cannot even be in military service. The regular duration for men to serve in the Korean military is 3 years—that is the official army service that men have to observe. But there is this other type of service that comprises all the rejects from the regular service. These are people who might not have good eyesight or fall into a lower category of body weight, and also people who have tattoos covering large parts of their body. Joon was actually part of that army, not the official one. This is where he encountered friends…

So you found acceptance among a group of people with tattoos?

Joon: Yes, right.

Is there a certain amount of tattoos a man must have to be rejected from regular military service?

Joon: At the time there was really no strict rule of how much tattoo you must have to go to the second tier army. There were people with some kind of tattoo, physical disfunctions, or some kind of lack. It is a place the secondary male citizens went.

So, in the military tattoos were considered a physical disfunction?

Joon: The people he saw with tattoos were rejects, but were not rejected because of bodily disfunction, but because of attitude disfunction. He was surprised because he always regarded tattoo as an artistic form, but the people who had the tattoos were regarded as some kind of deviant or reject. The conflict actually lead him to explore more about tattooing, and inspired him to use that as his subject matter.

How did you first begin marketing your work?

Joon: Naturally through all kinds of exhibitions.

Kim Joon, Stay - Warhol, 2007, c-print, 87 x 150 cm. Image courtesy of the Sundaram Tagore Gallery.

When and how did you become represented by Sundaram Tagore?

Joon: I was invited to a mini solo show with the gallery as part of the official program of Asian Contemporary Art Week, held in spring 2009.

Who are your major collectors? What nationality?

Joon: I am not quite sure who they are, but I do have many collectors in Europe and America (New York).

How long does it take to produce an artwork?

Joon: It differs from time to time, but anywhere between 2 weeks to 2 months.

What kind of space do you work in?

Joon: I have a studio in Seoul and Gong Ju.

What shows do you have planned next?

Joon: I am showing with Sundaram at Art Asia Art Fair in December 2009 during Art Miami Basel week and I have a solo exhibition coming up in March at ST’s Beverly Hills gallery.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists about becoming successful in the art world?

Joon: I am not sure if I am in a position to give advice, but I usually say to my students and younger artists that one must have sincerity in order to succeed in anything. Giving sincerest thoughts and effort maybe a long and painful process but a necessary one.

How has the contemporary Korean art scene changed since you began working with it?

Joon: Korean art used be more or less conforming to a dominant style when I first started to work as an artist. For example, Minjoong misul [mass art] and abstraction were the two most dominant styles while I was an art student and virtually everyone was doing things in one of the two styles. However, contemporary art has become much more diversified. Artists are not afraid of expressing individual ideas and having their own style.

Kim Joon, Neverland, 2009, digital print, 120 x 120 cm. Image courtesy of the Sundaram Tagore Gallery.

Which Korean institutions and galleries do you admire and recommend to art lovers?

Joon: The Han Mi Museum of Photography, Museum of Contemporary Art, Duk Soo Palace branch. In terms of exciting galleries, PKM, Kukje and Hakgoje galleries in Seoul are recommendable.

How did the Korean Eye show in London affect your career? Do you find more interest in Korean art at home or abroad?

Joon: I feel that more people in England know about my work, and that’s a great thing for an artist. Other than that I do not feel much change in my career – yet that is. I think we need to allow more time for people to absorb what they saw.

What role do you think contemporary art plays in society? Does it play a special or unique role in Korea?

Joon: Art provides new experiences to people, making people think within a different realm.. It provides new angles and perspectives to think about and view things. This is a very important role of art… I think the artworks in Korea that are made in Korea manifest the multiple realities of Korea much better or closer to the existing condition. However loosely defined that term “Korean Style” may be, I think their works seem to reflect “it” better because their comments and expressions are close rumination of their experiences (that have great affinities with mine).

What is your philosophy as an artist? Why create art?

Joon: My philosophy is to enjoy whatever it is that you do. One of the few things that can be done without having to worry about other people’s intervention is creating art. The ability to excercise this kind of independence and freedom is an utmost privilege. I enjoy this aspect of my work very much.

Are there any causes you would like your art to support or raise awareness of?

Joon: I want people to recognize and understand tattoo as my visual language which is synonymous to pain, complexity, desire, responsibility, fate, the past, memory, hope, inscription, compulsion, coercion, duress and constraint, etc. And I want people to be able to use tattoo to reflect their own realities.

What are you trying to achieve or communicate through your art?

Joon: I would like people to be able to think about their own tattoos and re-examine their lives through seeing my work. Tattoo or tatooing symbolizes the multi-layered composites of desire and will, emotion and action, pain and pleasure of self and other (tattooist) which can be translated as a complex system of complicit activities. This is much like the way in which our lives are conducted in the larger social matrix. I want people to be able to feel the tension between human (in)ability to control desires and situations. That we have less control than we think in defying forces in capital driven society.

What has been your biggest challenge in art?

Joon: Physical conditions- I work long hours in front of computers and that is really bad for my neck and back. I have been suffering from serious disc problems and am trying to manage that.

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Posted in 3D Max, Body, Brands, Computer animation software, Electronic art, Gallery shows, Hong Kong, Human Body, Identity art, Interviews, Kim Joon, Korean, Logos, New Media, Photography, Research, Resources | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Performance of Asia tops West for first timers at auction in 2008/09

Posted by artradar on November 17, 2009


AUCTION PERFORMANCE

It may be of some surprise that Asian artists have outperformed their Western counterparts in “first time auction results” during the height of the art market boom. According to ArtPrice’s 2008/2009 contemporary art market report, buyers are giving Asian artists new to the auction market stronger backing than new Western artists.

This support is evident in the high proportion of Asian artists achieving the top hammer prices:  64% of the “top 50 best hammer price for new auctioned artists in 2008” were given to Asian artists predominantly from China, Japan and Korea.

Of the top 10 best first-timer hammer prices, half were given to Chinese artists born between 1949 and the early 1960s. The top price of Euro 347,510 was given for a work by the artist You Jindong (b 1949)  known for his works created with gunpowder.

 

 

top 50

© ArtPrice, TOP 50 Best hammer price for new auctioned artists in 2008

Out of the three main Asian countries (China-24, Korea-4, Japan-3) represented in the list, Chinese artists’ prices have had the most dramatic reduction from the high point in 2008. Although times are different now, the price correction within the contemporary Chinese art market has significantly lowered the price barriers for collectors. It is considerably more economical to purchase “new auction artists” in 2009.

So Hing Keung

So Hing Keung's photograph titled "Central, Hong Kong, 1998" sold for USD 4,515 at Sothebys in Hong Kong on October 6th, 2009

In recent Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong on October 6th, the average price for a Chinese “new auction artists” was drastically lower at USD 12,000 compared to USD 130,000 during the previous year. In addition to Chinese contemporary art, the price barriers for contemporary Japanese and Korean art remains accessible in the current market.

Lee Kyoung Mi

Korean artist Lee Kyoung Mi's painting titled "San Francisco on the Table" sold for USD 12,255 at Sothebys in Hong Kong on October 6th, 2009

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Liquidity propels prices, Chinese Political Pop is back – Sothebys Contemporary Asian Art Auction 2009 Hong Kong

Posted by artradar on October 16, 2009


SOTHEBY’S AUCTIONS HONG KONG CONTEMPORARY ASIAN ART

Although called a Contemporary Asian Art auction, this sale was dominated by Chinese artists which was a canny move by Sotheby’s given that mainland liquidity is driving prices of property in Hong Kong to record high prices of US$1,000 per square foot and sending Chinese stock markets soaring. According to Bloomberg, Chinese money supply has grown by 55% since the beginning of 2007 compared with 20% in the UK and US.

Some of this liquidity has found its way into the art market at this auction. Mainland buyers were active and revealed some surprising preferences.

Hong Kong artists back in a second showcase

Sotheby’s followed up its inaugural and successful showcase of 8 Hong Kong artists in the ‘Spring auction earlier this year with an expanded selection of works by 10 artists. Affordable prices meant that all but two of the works found buyers with successful bids mostly coming in around estimates.

Simon Go, Hong Kong Old Shops, Inkjet on Bamboo Paper

Simon Go, Hong Kong Old Shops, Inkjet on Bamboo Paper

Works by two artists, sculptor Danny Lee and photographer Simon Go who were both new to the auction this year, did better than estimates. Danny Lee produces stainless steel sculptures which are reminiscent  – though in a more organic liquid form –  of the stainless steel scholar rocks made by the world-renowned sculptor Zhan Wang  whose works have been collected by institutions such as the British Museum . Danny Lee’s Mountain and Stream IV sold for HK$170,000 against a top estimate of HK$160,000 (before premium). (US$1 = HK$7.7)

Danny Lee, Mountain and Stream IV, Steel wood

Danny Lee, Mountain and Stream IV, Steel wood

Simon Go’s set of 2 photographic works called Hong Kong Old Shops: Wing Wo Grocery and Keng Ming Mirror Shop achieved a price of HK$80,000 against an estimate of HK$30-50,000 (before premium). This lot points to several collector trends. According to Larry Warsh, a New York-based dealer, there is a growing interest in Chinese photography and Wing Wo Grocery ( an image of a family clan in an old-style grocery shop from the colonial era recently shut down in preparation for urban renewal) embodies trends identified at an ArtInsight seminar last month called ‘Trends and Opportunities in Photography” . The panelists identified documentary photography and ‘slice of lif’e’ photography as hot areas for collectors now.

Zhan WangThe biggest story of the Hong Kong part of the sale was Tsang Tsou Choi’s calligraphy which saw excited bidding between several bidders in the room and on the phone resulting in a price (before premium) of HK$400,000 which was 8 times the lower estimate of HK$50,000. Work by this artist now deceased was also a surprising success in the Spring 2009 auction perhaps because of local media and public interest in the eccentric behaviour he displayed in his long art career.

Tsang Tsou Choi, Calligraphy, Acrylic on Canvas

Tsang Tsou Choi, Calligraphy, Acrylic on Canvas

In our Sotheby’s Spring 2009 auction post we wrote:

Tsang, Tsou Chin aka The Kowloon Emperor is a Hong Kong legend, famous for his calligraphy graffiti which he painted on public furniture. Undeterred by numerous warnings he roamed the streets for 50 years laying down his family genealogy and his personal history as an emperor in exile in blatant defiance of the Queen and English colonial rule. Deemed a lunatic by some, he was nevertheless recognised when in 2003 he became the very first Hong Kong artist to exhibit at the Venice Biennale.

Cynical Realist artists are back

In the next section of the sale a series of Chinese sixties-born artists, many from the Cynical Realist and Political Pop movements (Yue Minjun Feng Zhenghjie Zeng Fanzhi, Fang Lijun, Zhang Xiaogang) came under the hammer with hefty estimates of several hundred thousand and up to around $5 million per lot.

Yue Minjun, Hats Series - The Lovers, Oil on Canvas

Yue Minjun, Hats Series - The Lovers, Oil on Canvas

On a visit to London last month Art Radar heard several Western commentators describing Chinese art as ‘old’, ‘tired’ and ‘done’. This auction showed clearly that there are keen buyers for Chinese artists of this era who are willing to pay robust prices. Room bidders were mainly middle-aged Chinese men, who are perhaps collectors or more likely dealers for a growing middle class market in the mainland. Most lots in this section sold at estimate and some well above. Yue Minjun’s ‘Hats Series – The Lovers’ attracted several room bidders and a phone bidder eventually selling for HK$5.3m against a top estimate of HK$3.5m.

Institution-endorsed Chinese artists of the  fifties and sixties meet price resistance

Wang Keping, Untitled, Wood

Wang Keping, Untitled, Wood

It is no secret that Western critics regard some of the Cynical Realist artists as lightweight and lacking in intellectual rigour.  Instead major institutions such as the Royal Academy and British Museum in London have favoured and endorsed other mid-century born artists such as gunpowder artist Cai Guo-Qiang and Xu Bing, famous for his invented calligraphy . These artists sold well at lower price levels but lots with high estimates met resistance and failed. Cai Guo-Qiang’s Money Net No 2, part of Royal Academy of Art Project (estimate HK$4.7m – 5.5m) and Xu Bing’s Silkwom Series – The Foolish Old Man Who Tried to Remove the Mountain (estimate HK$5m – 5.5m) were bought in.

Frowns for part-increment bids

What we did see at this auction was a much stronger resistance by the two auctioneers in this marathon four-and-a-half  hour sale to partial bids. In recent auctions we have seen bidders make counter-offer bids at increments lower than standard. In the recent past these were accepted with alacrity by genial auctioneers. At this auction bidders were left waiting, frowned at and as often as not turned down.

Zhang Huan upset

Zhang Huan, My New York, Chromogenic Print

Zhang Huan, My New York, Chromogenic Print

Zhang Huan

, formerly a performance artist and more recently a sculptor and installation artist known for his works in ash and animal skins had 5 lots in the sale. Despite  backing by big-boy galleries in London and New York (Zhang Huan currently has an installation at White Cube in Picadilly London) four of his works including two sculptures and two chromogenic prints were bought in. The only work which was successful was a chromogenic print (numbered 3/8) recording his early endurance performance art which sees him running barefoot along the streets covered in raw meat. This work exemplifies another trend identified at the Artinsight photography seminar: growing interest in photographic documentation of performance art.

Sculpture mixed

Sculpture had a mixed performance. Apart from Zhang Huan’s two failed lots and one by Hong Kong artist Kum Chi Keung, there was a surprise pass on Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s pink polyester mannequin Self-Obliteration (estimate $550-650,000). Most of the rest of the ten or so sculptures including Wang Keping’s wooden female forms, Zhang Wan’s scholar rocks, kitsch sculptures by the Luo Brothers and Huang Yan and a run of five works featuring sculpted heads  and figures (by various artists) sold at or above estimate.

Li Hui, Amber Dragon, Neon and steel

Li Hui, Amber Dragon, Neon and steel

Two lots by neon and steel sculptor Li Hui (1977) were highly sought after and attracted across-the-room bidding. Both pieces were purchased by an Asian family who were active bidders in the preceding sale of South East Asian art. The family also acquired an acrylic on canvas by Japanese artist Hiroyuki Matsuura and another by Ryuki Yamamoto. Traditionally collectors’ interests cluster geographically and more often than not collectors prefer to buy their national artists though there have been signs of changes. Despite the recession there is still momentum  behind this trend of pan-Asia buying.

Chinese photography fluid bidding

A handful of photographs were scattered through the sale but the bulk was found in an eleven lot run in the middle.  This run featured sixties-born Chinese photographers such as Hai Bo, Hong Hao, Wang Qingsong, Huang Yan, Cang Xin and Sheng Qi who were active in the nineties and many of whom came to international prominence in 2004 with Christopher Phillips’ seminal exhibition Between Past and Future at the International Center of Photography in New York. Since then major US institutions have been collecting the work of this group as we reported in April 2009:

Hai Bo, Red Guard, Chromogenic Print and Gelatin Silver Print

Hai Bo, Red Guard, Chromogenic Print and Gelatin Silver Print

The J. Paul Getty Museum is the latest institution to add works by Chinese contemporary artists to its holdings. Others include New York’s Museum of Modern Art, which recently acquired 28 works for its photography collection, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, and the Brooklyn Museum, as well as global institutions such as the Tate and the Pompidou Center.

“The acquisition of these works (Wang Qingsong, Hai Bo) affirms an important new direction for the Getty,” says noted photography dealer and collector Daniel Wolf, who helped establish the museum’s collection in the 1980s. “It reflects an interest in expanding the collection in this category.”

Prices were affordable and bidding was fluid. While editions were limited to the 8-20 range and many of the lots were made up of multiple images, sales were made at estimates which were surprisingly affordable. Most lots sold for between HK$40-75,000. Wang Qingsong’s triptych photograph Past Present, Future which sold at estimate for HK$260,000 was the exception.  One buyer snapped up several lots.

One upset was lot 765 by Cao Fei which was passed in. Her works are inspired by the internet, video games, role-playing and the virtual world and she has received wide coverage in London and beyond after a recent show at Battersea Power Station organised in conjunction with the Serpentine Gallery.

Japanese and Korean art

The sale was dominated by Chinese artists but there was a run of cartoon-style art, many by young Japanese artists, a third of the way through the sale which sold at prices HK$50-150,000. Heavyweight Japanese artists were priced much higher but did not always sell or meet the estimate.  Yoshimoto Nara’s It’s Everything sold at HK$3.3m compared with an estimate of HK$3.8-HK$5m. Work by Yoshitaka Amano (described by Time Out as ”the Japanese anime legend behind the Final Fantasy video game” and who attracted spirited phone bidding in the spring sale 2009) was passed in. Takashi Murakami was the exception achieving HK$520,000 for an untitled 1/50 edition screenprint carrying an estimate of just HK$50-70,000. Korean works also achieved mixed results.

Long long auction

The final run of 11 lots saw 6 passes despite affordable prices. This result is probably not worth analysing in depth as it likely had more to do with the numbing length of the 4-5 hour 2 auctioneer sale which saw a packed room of 200 or so dwindle away to 30 or 40 tired stalwarts at what felt like the dog-end of the sale. Perhaps Sotheby’s who charged for coffee and catalogues again this year is still in cost-slashing mode. Let’s hope that by next year there will be enough new money supply for a return to more coffee breaks and free coffee.

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Posted in Auctions, Business of art, Cai Guoqiang, Cao Fei, Cartoon, China, Chinese, Hong Kong, Hong Kong Artists, Japanese, Korean, Li Hui, Market watch, Photography, Sculpture, Takashi Murakami, Xu Bing, Yayoi Kusama, Yoshitaka Amano, Yue Minjun, Zeng Fanzhi, Zhang Huan, Zhang Xiaogang | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Trends and opportunities in the contemporary photography market

Posted by artradar on October 7, 2009


PHOTOGRAPHY MARKET TRENDS

At a seminar held in London in September 2009 organised by ArtInsight three London-based photography market experts from a fund, a gallery and a major auction house shared their views on the most promising opportunities and interesting trends in photography today.

We attended the seminar and have teased out surprising facts and intriguing assertions for you to mull.

Background to the photography market

  • First photography auction was held in 1971 initiated by Sotheby’s.
  • Over the past 15 years, this medium has out-performed every other major medium including sculpture, prints, painting and sculpture.

In its early history this sector of the art market encountered resistance with buyers concerned that the works were not unique and therefore were not a viable investment. The development of controlled limited editioning in the seventies helped allay fears and the market saw steady but modest growth.

This all changed in 1989/1990 which marked the 150th anniversary of the introduction of photography and the market experienced a 45% leap in sales. Further steady growth marked the next 15 years until 2005 after which sales took off. 2006 saw the highest price ever paid for a photograph …US$2.6m.

  • Today photography accounts for 2% of total auction sales compared with 75% for painting and 11% for drawing and watercolour.
  • Photography has proved to be one of the least volatile sectors in the art market.
  • 9 photographs have broken the US$1m level including work by Japanese-American Hiroshi Sugimoto.

Why has interest in and sales of photography increased?

Nobody know for sure but various reasons have been offered including relative affordability, the introduction of controlled editioning, a loyal customer base and increased market transparency.

Photography trends

There is growing interest and, arguably, opportunities in the following four subsectors of photography:

  • fashion and celebrity photography
  • reportage-style photography
  • phot0graphs recording ephemeral art forms such as performance art and land art
  • “slice of life” photography – a vernacular style dealing the everyday real life as its subject

Brett Rogers of the Photographers Gallery noted the development of a sub-genre she called “constructive fiction” which blurs the boundaries between fact and fiction crossing the techniques of the photo-journalist and fine artist.

In an interesting twist she forsees gains for collectors of photography books and advises buying first editions and examples of rare, early books. Explaining that books usually feature the very best of an artist’s work, photography books can deliver enormous joy as well as potential financial dividends.

Matt Carey-Williams, Director of Christies Post-War and Contemporary Art recommended photographs from the 1930s to 1950s – a seminal period in the development of photography as an art form – and which he believes are “massively undervalued”.

Global opportunities in photography

During question time, the panel was asked where they saw opportunities in emerging countries and the following recommendations were made.

  • Visit Sharjah and Biennial and Art Dubai to see interesting work from the Middle East and Iran.
  • Explore Central Asian countries.
  • Korea has huge potential.
  • Female Indian artists are producing some interesting work.

It was agreed that Chinese photography seemed “a little old” though Matt Carey-Williams said that it would look “remarkably fresh again in twenty years”.

Current challenges facing the market

Conservation of photographs– One of the most pressing challenges today is developing guidelines for acceptable conservation work. Colour photographs fade and some artists and galleries will ”refresh” (reprint) the works and some refuse. As museums are beginning to collect contemporary photography on a large scale, panellists felt that it was likely that this issue would be resolved

Is photography a separate genre? – Recognising that artists now work in many media. there are questions about whether it is appropriate or useful to dedicate parts of the market such as galleries or funds exclusively to photography. Matt Carey-Williams explained that as an auctioneer he regards artists as artists first and photographers second. Brett Rogers noted that this trend away from a specialisation in photography is due to a change in the way art schools teach. A consequence of a broadening of focus though is that less attention is given to technique. Image is more important than technique for young photographers today.

(Editor’s note: It is may also be a sign of market maturity – specialist focus marketing and promotion is necessary for an emerging section of the market. Today many if not most contemporary art galleries show photography as a matter of course. Just as photography is integral to and fully-accepted in today’s art world on equal terms with other media we at Art Radar are looking forward to the day Asian art is given equal weight with other geographies in art media and we can drop Asia from our name).

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Posted in Celebrity art, Documentary, Indian, Iranian, Korean, Land art, Market watch, Middle Eastern, Photography | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Korean Eye exhibition in Saatchi Gallery London extended due to popularity

Posted by artradar on August 12, 2009


KOREAN CONTEMPORARY ART

There is perhaps no greater indicator of changing tastes in London’s contemporary art scene and the West’s hunger for fresh cultural and artistic influences than the masses of people who came to witness the ‘Korean Eye: Moon Generation’ Exhibition, which showcases the finest contemporary Korean art at the renowned Saatchi Gallery in London. In fact, over 40,000 gallery-going visitors

Kim Joon, Bird-land Donald Duck, 2008.  From Korean Eye, Moon Generation. On view at Saatchi Gallery, London.

Kim Joon, Bird-land Donald Duck, 2008. From Korean Eye, Moon Generation. On view at Saatchi Gallery, London.

came to experience contemporary Korean art in just 2 weeks. The Saatchi Gallery originally planned to host the Exhibition from June 20th-July 5th, but the unexpected crowds inspired Charles Saatchi to request the exhibit continue until September 13.

‘Korean Eye’ is a groundbreaking show for Korean contemporary artists, who have had very little prior exposure in London and the West.

Of the choice to extend the show, Simon de Pury, Chairman of Phillips de Pury and Company, comments: “The interest in Korean Eye has been so great that we felt the Exhibition must be extended. Korean contemporary art is not that well known in Europe and it is a privilege to host such original and exciting work.”

Among the honored guests at the exhibition’s London opening on July 2 were Cherie Blair, the wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and Sir David Tang, the founder of Hong Kong’s China Club and its acclaimed art collection. Cherie Blair was no doubt one of London’s art enthusiasts who discovered the richness of contemporary Korean art that evening, saying, “I didn’t realise that Korea had such a thriving modern art industry but this exhibition is extraordinary. The breadth of the works is fantastic and it has been a real privilege to meet some of the artists and view the works first hand.”

The show’s curator, 35 year old Lee Dae-hyung, came up with the idea for the show last March, and secured sponsorship and support from David Ciclitira, president of Parallel Media Group, the auction firm Phillips de Pury & Company, and Standard Chartered Bank. Lee is the head of the curating company Hzone, and has been promoting Korean artists in Seoul, Tokyo, London, and Beijing for the past 8 years. His next exhibitions include a showcase of experimental furniture designs titled ‘Mad for Furniture’, and the December exhibition ‘Korea Tomorrow’, both to be held in Seoul.

I Miss You, by Jang Seung-hyo

I Miss You, by Jang Seung-hyo

The show’s popularity and enthusiastic London reception indicate a bright future for Korean contemporary artists on the Western and international scene, and suggest a new trend of Western fascination with Korean influence. Art enthusiasts, be aware: contemporary Korean art is certainly something to watch.

-contributed by Erin Wooters

    • Red River Flowing With Flowers Flame, by Kwon Ki-soo
  • Red River Flowing With Flowers Flame, by Kwon Ki-soo

Related links:

  • The Saatchi Gallery
  • Local Curator Brings Korean Art to Britain–JoongAng Daily–July 09
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    Posted in Business of art, David Ciclitira, Events, Galleries, Gallery shows, Korean, London, Saatchi, UK | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

    Collector Ciclitira, founder of Korean Eye, makes big plans for Korean art

    Posted by artradar on June 30, 2009


    KOREAN ART

    If you have an interest in Korean contemporary art, be sure to make time for the latest 20 minute podcast from Arttactic, a London-based research house.

    In it, British collector and sports promoter David Ciclitira, together with Rodman Primack, Phillip de Pury’s London chairman, discuss Korean Eye, a multi-year initiative founded by Ciclitira which aims to promote Korean contemporary art to a Western and ultimately international audience.

    Hyung Koo Kang, Woman, 2009

    Hyung Koo Kang, Woman, 2009

    Korean Eye is holding its first 31 artist exhibition at The Saatchi Gallery in London until 5 July 2009 and the exhibition catalogue is available online. “This space in London is the iconic space right now, it has three to four thousand people a day going through the space in 20 days, so we’ll have 60 to 80 thousand people coming through, so that will be good” says Ciclitira in an interview with Art Market Monitor.

    None of it’s from my collection. It’s all brand new. It’s all for sale. I’ve built up a collection of Korean contemporary art in the last two or three years. But I asked a young curator to put the show together, so it’s his choice of artists. I don’t necessarily agree with all of it, but when you hire a curator, you let them do it.

    Later Ciclitira plans to bring a larger Korean Eye-branded show to other ‘markets’  including perhaps Singapore, Abu Dhabi and Hong Kong.

    Seung WookSim, black mutated ornamentation 2007, hot glue on steel frame

    Seung Wook Sim, black mutated ornamentation 2007, hot glue on steel frame

    ‘The Korean Eye’ initiative is interesting on several fronts:

    1. Bringing Korean art to the West

    Korean contemporary art has, as yet, had little exposure in the West.

    Chinese and Japanese contemporary art have already received academic and critical attention from universities and museums in Western cultures. However unlike Japanese art which has experienced long international exposure and Chinese art which has strong national support from economic growth, Korean art is in the shadows. note 1

    Ciclitira points out in the podcast that although show catalogues produced in Korea are of a high quality, there is not yet a bilingual book on Korean contemporary art, a gap which ‘Korean Eye’ plans to address in the next 18 months.

    Koreans have a 25 year history of collecting Western artists but support for local artists is burgeoning. There has been a growth spurt in the number of Korean galleries in the last 2-3 years and artists are not harnessed to individual galleries. The resulting competitive environment created keen pricing even before the recession. Now the recession is stimulating further discounts. Korean galleries are present at Asian art fairs and have set up galleries across Asia but are still rare further west.

    Park Seung Mo, Contrabass

    Park Seung Mo, Contrabass

    2. Bank sponsorship money can still be found …in Asia

    Funds available from bank sponsorship have been thin on the ground since the Lehman collapse in autumn 2008. While the Hong Kong Art Fair ’09 failed to find a replacement sponsor for Lehman, Ciclitira has had better luck:

    I’ve been very fortunate to be sponsored by Standard Chartered. That’s not a bank known to many American people. It’s now Britain’s second-largest bank. It was the only bank that didn’t invest in subprime. It’s in 108 markets around the world. It’s highly profitable. It’s basically a Hong Kong-based business. But it’s the largest single foreign investor in Korea. They bought a major bank there, and it’s a really super bank which supports, locally, art. That’s one of the things that they do. And they’ve been really, really supportive of this project. I have been amazed how much traction we’ve gotten from their involvement. So in this time of recession, they’ve been very helpful and we hopefully get to work together with them in the future to build it in other markets.

    3. Branded selling exhibitions – a new style of show

    Finally ‘Korean Eye’ represents a new style of branded selling exhibition which brings together a collector’s passion, government support, bank sponsorship and auction house sales expertise.

    Somewhat like Saatchi, Ciclitira has a background as a professional promoter and an ongoing passion for art. But whereas Saatchi has chosen to exhibit his own self-curated non-selling shows, Ciclitira makes no bones about his plans to develop ‘Korean Eye’ as a brand of selling shows. While he admits to having experienced a steep learning curve:

    What I’ve found interesting in this whole learning process is how unsophisticated the art world is, because when you work in major sports events, there are more dates, so much more research, everything is television linked to media values, and art feels amateur when you look at how they do things, and it’s no small wonder that when they need to raise massive money, they find it quite hard.

    David-Ciclitira-330x449

    Collectors who, in the later stages of the their collecting career, want to be involved with supporting the evolution of art, come from backgrounds of all kinds. It will be fascinating to watch what kind of influence this sports promoter will bring to the democratisation of art through branding and media involvement.

    I worked a long time with UBS, and I have access to all their research, and their research, number one for their clients was golf. Art came in third, I think, classic cars or wine were second. The reality is, it’s out there. I believe the art market goes beyond your top bracket. My people all started saying, “The chairman’s crazy, he’s going to do this,” and they’ve all ended up loving it. “Can I get my bonus in a piece of work?”

    The problem with the art world is that they’re a bunch of snobs. The reality is that gallerists make people feel as if they’re not wanted, and I think this is part of the breaking down of what will happen in the next 10 years, more people will want to get involved.

    It sounds like Ciclitira is a man with a mission to make that happen.

    Note 1 Korean Eye Moon Generation catalogue Page 9, Joon Lee Deputy Director Samsung Museum of Art

    Artists

    Ayoung Kim, Bahk SeonGhi, Boomoon, Cho Hoon, Choi TaeHoon, Choo JongWan, Debbie Han, Han KiChang, Hong KyongTack, Jang SeungHyo, Jeon Junho, Kang Hyung Koo, Kim Inbai, Kim Joon, Koh MyungKeun, Kwon KiSoo, Lee Dongwook, Lee HyungKoo, Lee LeeNam, Lee Rim, Lee Ufan. Lee Yong Baek, Lee YongDeok. Park JungHyuk, Park SeungMo, Park SungTae, SeungMin Lee, Sim SeungWook, Whang Inkie, Yi HwanKwon, Yoon Jong Seok

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    Posted in Asia expands, Corporate collectors, David Ciclitira, Democratisation of art, Galleries, Gallerists/dealers, Gallery shows, Korean, London, Overviews, Saatchi, Yi Hwan-Kwon | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Art Dubai 2009 – who sold what to whom? 15 galleries talk to Art Radar

    Posted by artradar on March 23, 2009


    MIDDLE EAST ART FAIR

    Which artists were favourites? 15 exhibitor galleries talk to Art Radar in the final day of the fair about sales, attendance and some new collector trends.

    art-dubai

    Summary:

    • Middle Eastern collectors showing first signs of interest in East Asian art
    • Pieces in the price range US$20-30000 sell best
    • Sales down compared with last year; booths have mixed results
    • More art fair visitors from institutions
    • Russian collector base changing

    Set out below is a round-up of comments from a selection of galleries participating in the fair.

    Triumph Gallery – Russia

    Ruth Addison: “The fair is going OK rather than fast in terms of sales but it is great in terms of contacts and opportunities. Some of our artists have been invited on residencies. We did not expect too much because of 1) the recession 2) Russian artists are new to the Middle East and 3) this is the first time for Triumph at the fair. Most interest has been shown in AES+F.”

    Aidan Gallery – Russia

    Aidan Salakhova, Director: “Sales have been slower, much as we expected. We have sold 2-3 pieces. We may come back next year but we don’t plan to attend any art fairs in the next 5-6 months. We were the first private gallery in the USSR when we opened 17 yeas ago. In Russia now there is so much change happening to the local collector base, many people are losing money and other new collectors who are making money – perhaps from the government – are entering the market and replacing them. Our aim is to survive the next couple of years and wait for the market to settle”

    Grosvenor Gallery London

    Connor Macklin “The fair has been better than expected for us. The mood is different this year but we have made sales in the range of US$2,000 to US$100,000 per piece”.

    Haunch of Venison – London, Berlin, Zurich, New York

    Adrian Sutton, Senior Sales Director “We have had a successful fair. We have sold one piece and are close with two other pieces and if they come off, sales ( of Indian artist Jitish Kallat and Wim Wenders ) will be over a quarter of a million US dollars in total.”

    October Gallery London

    Elizabeth Lalouschek Artistic Director: “We have found that there has been more interest in larger works. We have sold 10 works with prices varying from US$2,500 to US$90,000 including two El Anatsui works. This fair we have noticed more of an international attendance and more museum directors than in previous years. Perhaps this is because the art fair is being held at the same time as the Sharjah Biennale.”

    El Anatsui at October Gallery

    El Anatsui at October Gallery

    Mario Mauroner Vienna Austria

    “This is our third time here and it has been very quiet. Most interest has been shown in Barthelmy Toguo from Cameroon. We did well at Bologna and Arco so Art Dubai has been disappointing . But we set up in 1972 and have survived recessions dating back to the 1973 oil crisis so I don’t doubt we will survive this too.”

    Galerie Kashya Hildebrand  Switzerland

    Kashya Hildebrand “This is our third trip and we are very happy because members of the Royal Family have bought Asian art for the first time – a Korean artist….a major development.

    There is a also a group of serious Dubai-based Iranian collectors who come to the fair. They take their purchases very seriously, pore over the pieces, ask lots of questions and return each day. Last year this group also began to buy Asian art for the first time which is very exciting.”

    Korean artist Ran Hwang purchased by Royal Family

    Korean artist Ran Hwang purchased by Royal Family

    Galerie Volker Diehl Moscow, Berlin

    Monica F. Eulitz International Director:  “The fair has been very well attended and we have seen buyers from the entire Gulf region this year not just local participants. We have sold a few pieces in the US$20,000-30,000 range.”

     Kalfayan Galleries  Greece

    Roupen Kalfayan: ” Sales have been so-so but it has been wonderful for contacts. Business is slower than last year. This is our second year.. We have had a lot of interest in the Syrian photographer Hrair Sarkissianwho will be exhibiting at the Istanbul Biennale. He started to receive attention from collectors last year and we have placed his work with European collectors at the fair this year. Also Tarek Al Ghoussein.”

    B21 Dubai

    Tessa de Caters: “We have made some sales and the video and digital Iranian artist Leila Pazooki has been receiving attention.

    Pyo Gallery  Korean

    Jeong Yim Gho, Chief curator “It is slow compared with last year. Last year was pretty good but not this year though we have made a few sales in the US$20-30,000 range” Most interest was shown in Park, Sung-Tae.

    Hakgojae Gallery, Seoul

    Kim Jyon director “This is our first visit and sales have not been good. U Fan has sold and there has been a lot of interest in Lee Lee Nam but no sales yet of this artist’s work.”

    Aicon GalleryNew York, Palo Alto, London

    “Sales are reasonable but much slower than last year”

    Bodhi Art Mumbai

    Puneet Shah Asst Gallery Manager: “It has been slow fair for us. We have made no sales. The artist which has attracted most attention is Subodh Gupta.

    Edwynn Houk Gallery New York  US

    Edwynn Houk “This is our first year and we have made a good beginning. We have sold 6 pieces, all photographs by Lalla Essaydi. We have found that Western artists seem to have less resonance with local collectors this year but perhaps interest will develop over time. We would like to come back to Art Dubai”

    Related categories: art fairs, Middle Eastern art, collector news

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    Posted in AES+F, Dubai, El Anatsui, Fairs, Gallerists/dealers, Indian, Jitish Kallat, Korean, Market watch, Middle East, Museum collectors, Overviews, Russian, Subodh Gupta, Syrian | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Troubles for Korean art at home, better reception abroad – Korean Herald, New York Magazine

    Posted by artradar on January 20, 2009


    Lee Yong Deok Singapore Art Museum

    Lee Yong Deok Singapore Art Museum

    KOREAN ART

    ‘Art Market in Doldrums as Auction Bids Plunge’ shouts the title of a story in Chosun.

    The Korean art market is reeling from the economic crisis, with the highest bid prices at domestic art auctions plunging 38.2 percent last year. So Jin-su, professor at Kangnam University and manager at an art market researcher, on Monday released a report on Korea’s art market in 2008, which said the sum of the highest bids at domestic art auctions was W119.1 billion (US$1=W1,314) last year, down 38.2 percent from W192.6 billion in 2007.
    Chosun

    The art market has seen a downward trend since the end of 2007 after two years of a boom. The financial crisis is a major cause but the Korean art world has stumbled through a series of setbacks in 2008.

    Fire and forgeries hit Korean art

    •  Flames swallowed Namdaemun, Korea’s 600-year-old National Treasure No. 1, on Feb. 10, breaking the hearts of Koreans.
    • Shin Jeong-ah, a former art professor and curator who forged her academic credentials and embezzled gallery money, was sentenced to a year and six months in prison in April.
    • Park Soo-keun’s painting “A Wash Place.” was sold for a record 4.52 billion won ($3.4 million) last May but was soon entangled in forgery controversies.
    • Other pieces by famous artists such as Kwon Ok-yeon and Do Sang-bok were put up at auction but were exposed as fake by the artists themselves or their surviving family. The auctions were canceled at the last minute.

    Vacancies and misuse of budgets in art institutions

    Important instutions and galleries were left with gaping holes in their ranks and budgets.

    Hong Ra-hee, the former head of the Samsung Museum of Art, Leeum and who was selected as the most powerful figure in Korean art industry, announced that she would no longer participate in any of Leeum’s business when she resigned earlier this year. Her resignation was the result of the accusation that she used some of Samsung’s slush funds to supplement her collection of paintings. Roy Lichtenstein’s painting, “Happy Tears,” was at the center of the controversy.

    Kim Yun-su, the former director of the National Museum of Contemporary Arts, was dismissed in November, accused of buying Marcel Duchamp’s installation art “La Boite en Valise” for an inappropriately high 600 million won without going through proper purchasing procedures.

    Kim Jeong-heon, former chairman of the Arts Council Korea, was also released from the office in December for a similar reason, the misuse of the council’s budget. He was blamed for an investment loss of 5.4 billion won, which allegedly came in the form of regulations violations.

    Gallery, fair and auction sales at home down

    According to the Korean Herald gallery insiders say ‘with a big sigh that this year was the worst in sales ever’.

    The art auction market, which was worth over 192.6 billion won last year, dropped over 40 percent, to 114.9 billion won. More than 80 percent of the bid was successful last year but this year, only 50 percent managed to sell. New auction companies such as D auction and Open auction are delaying the opening of their businesses.

    It is the same situation with biennales and art fairs. Many opened this year, including Gwangju Biennale, Busan Biennale, Daegu Photo Biennale and Korea International Art Fair.

    In size and quality, they left nothing to be desired. Most of them succeeded in attracting their most visitors ever, as 360 thousand visited Gwangju and 160 visited Busan during the period.The fairs, however, did not result in good sales. More than 61 thousand visitors entered the KIAF this year, but the sales dropped from 17.5 billion won last year to 14 billion won.

    New tax on art introduced

    Starting from 2011, art pieces that cost more than 60 million won will be taxable. Works of Korean artists are excluded but

    galleries worry that the real-name dealings system will make the art market shrink even more, considering how art collectors usually do not open to the public the specifics of the dealings. They also question how exactly the government will be able to estimate the prices of each art piece.

    Opportunities in the gloom: Koreans move into world market

    A light of hope does shine on the troubled art industry, though. Some auction companies and art galleries are paving their way into the world market, trying to survive through the depression.

    Seoul Auction and K auction, the top two auction companies in Korea advanced into Hong Kong and Macao this year and are putting up a good fight. Seoul Auction sold Lichtenstein’s “Still Life with Stretcher, Mirror, Bowl of Fruit” at 9.3 billion won in Hong Kong.

    Arario Gallery, Gallery Hyundai, and PKM gallery opened in China, Arario Gallery and Gana Art Gallery in New York, and Pyo Gallery in Los Angeles in the United States.

    Korean Herald

     And it seems as if the strategy of going global might just have a chance. At Art Basel Miami in December 2008, Korean art sold strongly and conceptualist and sculptor Hyungkoo Lee was a big hit says  New York  Magazine

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    Posted in Auctions, Galleries, Globalisation, Korean, Market watch, Recession | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »