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Posts Tagged ‘Lee Yong Deok’

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

More posts on Korean art, market watch, globalisation, recession, art fairs

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13 Korean artists in survey at Singapore Museum to March 2009 – IHT

Posted by artradar on December 5, 2008


Yim Tae-kyu 'Fly Away Home'
Yim Tae-kyu ‘Fly Away Home’

KOREAN ART SINGAPORE

Singapore Art Museum 8 November 2008 – 15 March 2009

Over the past six decades, Korea has witnessed enormous economic and social changes that artists have responded to with a diverse range of approaches, as they grappled with tensions between tradition and modernism, and issues of industrialization and urbanization. Two main ideological movements have emerged, one trying to transcend tradition, and the other trying to rediscover it, yet both have one common quest: finding a strong cultural identity.The exhibition, “Transcendence: Modernity and Beyond in Korean Art,” at the Singapore Art Museum, examines the development of Korean art from the 1950s to the present as seen through the works of 13 artists.

“From a broad perspective, modern Korean art may be seen to be oscillating between two seemingly divergent approaches. On one hand, there seems to be an effort to transcend traditional forms; yet, on the other, many artists have been attempting to rediscover the spirit of traditional art,” said Suenne Megan Tan, one of the two curators of the exhibition, “The idea is really to give visitors a good taste of Korean art over the last 50 years.”

Section 1: 1950s Korean Modernism

The show, which runs until March 15, has three broadly themed sections. The first part looks at the origins of Korean Modernism in the 1950s and focuses on three major artists: Park Seo Bo, Lee Ufan and Kim Tschang Yeul. “They’re generally regarded as key artists that have helped move Korean art into modernity,” Tan said.

Informel period

After the Korean War (1950-1953), artists started to seek new ways of expression, while reflecting on the scars of the war. “I think poverty was really the origin of creation for many artists right after the civil war,” Park said recently through an interpreter while in town for the opening of the show. “There was no food, no job opportunity, everything had gone back to ashes; all conventional values and ideas were laid naked and bare. I had to raise questions.”

Between 1957 and 1965, Park was one of the leading forces behind the Korean Informel movement, the first major abstract movement in Korea to challenge the established Japanese-mediated, French Impressionism style (Korea was under Japanese rule between 1910-1940). Informel works often used rough brushwork and mixed media on a large-scale canvas with strong color in an abstract style. Yet, although artists were looking at ways to experiment, they also sought to adapt abstract principles and include some Korean iconography in their works, noted Choi Eun Ju, guest curator for the show and branch director of the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Deoksugung in Seoul.

 Monochronism

Park was also a key player in another important Korean art movement, Monochromism, which he defined as the synthesis between the traditional Korean spirit and contemporary art. Proponents of this 1970s movement, which included Lee Ufan, emphasized the color white, a color often associated with the “spirit” of the Korean people.

Today, Park’s works are characterized by the use of soaked Korean mulberry paper mixed with glue, which he then manipulates on the canvas with constant strokes using a small wooden tool to create small, equidistantly spaced paper ridges. Through the repetitive, rhythmic force on the canvas, the artist says he is striving to reach “something absolute.”

“For me, painting has become a mere tool and method to cleanse and purify myself,” the 77-year-old artist said, likening his work to chanting in a temple.

Although they have different backgrounds – Park was trained in Korea, Lee in Japan and Kim in Europe and the United States – all three have imbued their works with Korean sensibilities, aesthetics and philosophy, Tan pointed out. Kim, who is best known for the translucent water drops on his paintings, has introduced Chinese characters in his work, an intrinsic part of Korean culture because of the neighboring country’s influence on Korea over the centuries.

Section 2: 1970s- 1980s

The second part of the exhibition looks at the generation of artists who emerged in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and who started to incorporate everyday objects into their canvas and to work in a more figurative style.

One of them, Kim Kang Yong, has become known as “the brick artist” because of his use of sand on canvases to depict bricks in various permutations.

“My work is very much about the industrialization of our society,” Kim said. “I first started using grains of sand and bricks as a reflection on individuality and the role of individuals in nation-building. But today, I’m using the motif more as an aesthetic tool.” Sometimes the bricks are arranged in a grid-like format, conveying the beauty of order; in others, they tumble toward the viewers, conveying turbulence.

Several of the other artists shown in this section, such as Lee Yong Deok, Cheong Kwang Ho and Lee Lee Nam, have been stretching the notion of the painting medium. Lee Young Deok, for example, first sculpts a figure then creates a cast of it and uses that mold as his final art work, thus offering the viewer a “negative” of his sculpture. Cheong Kwang Ho uses thin copper wire to create three-dimensional, see-through sculptures that have a certain weightlessness to them as though drawn in the air. Using video, Lee Lee Nam gives viewers of his “moving paintings” an opportunity to reflect on the passing of time and to question what is real. Using traditional Chinese landscapes in digital format, he “transforms” them, slowly changing the landscape – modern skyscrapers appear and disappear amid a traditional mountain landscape, or snow starts to fall.

Section 3: 1990s

The remainder of the show focuses on Korean art of the 1990s, which has largely been a reaction to the modernism of the ’70s and ’80s, showing a greater concern with the social function of art. “The contemporary generation goes beyond visual aesthetics and pushing the boundaries of the medium; rather, their art reflects their social concerns for the individual, the marginalized, as well as the tensions that exist within society,” Tan said.

Yim Tae Kyu, for example, started his “marginal man” series in 2002 as solitary melancholic figures that have evolved into a more optimistic and colorful series based on childhood imagery. “I first started with black and white works, looking at people alienated from society. But I then began to see that these people have dreams, hopes, aspirations. I felt marginalized because I was an artist, but I also started to have my own dreams; that’s when I started using color,” said Yim, who recently moved to Beijing: “I think the Beijing art scene is very experimental right now; I want to feel the vibes.”

Tan said that in the 1990s art took on a public function. “In the case of an artist like Kang Ik Joong,” she said, “art is used as an important tool in fostering connectivity across geographical boundaries and cultures.”

Kang has described himself as a collector of people’s dreams, translating those onto miniature canvases, providing “windows” into the hopes and dreams of the people he meets.

International Herald Tribune

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