The Korea International Art Fair (KIAF), one of Korea’s largest art fairs, has announced a strong lineup of 170 galleries from 12 countries at this year’s fair. The event will be held from October 13th to 17th, including VIP events at the COEX in Gangnam, Korea.
Some of Korea’s most influential art galleries including Kukje, Johyun, Hakgojae, and PKM will be joining the fair this year, and numerous internationally renowned galleries have decided to participate as well.
Pace, Lehmann Maupin, and Perrotin will be joining again and other notable participants, such as the US’s Gladstone, Germany’s KÖNIG, Esther Schipper, and Peres Projects will be participating in the fair for the first time. KÖNIG recently opened premises in Gangnam, Seoul in April, and Gladstone will soon open in the area as well.
According to the Korea Gallery Association, the organizer of KIAF, “The number of submitted applications was more than 30% higher, and galleries that applied for larger booths increased by 50% compared to last year.”
Part of this trend can be expected to come from Frieze’s announcement this May. The UK-based international art fair announced that it will hold “Frieze Seoul” in partnership with KIAF for five years beginning in 2022.
Frieze is considered one of the world’s top three contemporary art fairs along with Art Basel in Switzerland and FIAC in France. First held in 2003, Frieze London takes place in Regent Park annually with Frieze Masters, which was launched in 2012 to exhibit artworks from the ancient era to the late 20th century. Frieze New York has been running since 2012 and its Los Angeles counterpart began in 2019.
Several factors are considered to have played a role in Frieze’s decision to open Frieze Seoul next year. Hong Kong’s reputation as Asia’s leading art hub has weakened due to its unstable political climate, thus turning people’s attention to Seoul as the new hot spot for art in Asia.
Korea is one of the first countries to see its economy recover to pre-pandemic levels, it is known for its relatively stable national security and efficient infrastructure, and South Korean culture is gaining increasing global popularity. Most of all, there is no value-added tax to trade art in South Korea.