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Frieze Reveals the Participants of the Very First Frieze Seoul

Frieze New York 2021
Photo by Casey Kelbaugh. Courtesy of Casey Kelbaugh/Frieze.
Frieze New York 2021 Photo by Casey Kelbaugh. Courtesy of Casey Kelbaugh/Frieze.

Frieze Seoul is approaching in just two months. As one of the largest global art fairs, Frieze has been making its way to Asia and announced its entry into South Korea last year. And finally, the inaugural edition of the fair’s programs and gallery list was revealed on June 29.

Frieze Seoul will feature over 110 galleries from approximately twenty countries. While the main section will focus primarily on contemporary art, the fair’s program will be augmented by Frieze Masters, which will feature works from antiquity to the 20th century, and Focus Asia, which will feature galleries less than twelve years old.

Before the official opening, Frieze Week will take place in Seoul beginning on August 29 with numerous art events hosted by a variety of art institutions.

Among the ninety international galleries participating in the main section, eight Korean galleries are participating, including Kukje Gallery, Arario Gallery, Gallery Baton, Jason Haam, Johyun Gallery, Leeahn Gallery, One and J. Gallery, and PKM Gallery.

Pace Gallery, Gladstone Gallery, König Galerie, Lehmann Maupin, Perrotin, and Thaddaeus Ropac are among the international blue-chip galleries with a branch in Korea taking part in the fair. The main section will also feature Various Small Fires (VSF), one of the rising top galleries whose Seoul branch opened in 2019.

Photo by Ciaran O'Brien on Unsplash
Seoul. Photo by Ciaran O'Brien on Unsplash

A number of galleries and institutions without a branch in Korea but have been introducing Korean modern and contemporary artists are also participating, including New York’s Tina Kim Gallery, which has been introducing many Dansaekhwa and Korean avant-garde artists; LA’s Commonwealth and Council, which has been featuring some younger generations of Korean and Korean diaspora artists; and Singapore’s STPI, which has had world-renowned Korean artists such as Do Ho Suh, Haegyu Yang, and Chun Kwang Young in their residency programs.

Participating multinational mega-galleries include Gagosian, David Zwirner, White Cube, and Hauser & Wirth.

Focus Asia is a section devoted to solo exhibitions of emerging artists presented by galleries in Asia that are less than twelve years old. Christopher Lew of Los Angeles’s Horizon Art Foundation and Hyejung Jang of Seoul’s Doosan Art Center selected ten emerging galleries from eight Asian countries. P21 and Whistle Gallery are the two galleries based in Seoul.

Sungsil Ryu, 'BJ Cherry Jang 2018.4,' 2018, Single-channel video, 6 min

Opened in 2017, P21 focuses on introducing contemporary Korean artists such as Choi Jeong Hwa, Hyungkoo Lee, and Haneyl Choi. At the inaugural fair, P21 will present artist Sungsil Ryu, also known by her other kitschy persona, BJ Cherry Jang, who is well-known for her YouTube projects. She employs a dark sense of humor through video performances and installation works to unravel the current media environment and Korean society.

Exhibition view of "Hejum Bä: Combo" at the Whistle, Seoul. September 15 - October 30, 2021. © Whistle.

Whistle, which opened in 2017, is a gallery that aims to introduce emerging artists by collaborating with local and international artists on various exhibitions. The gallery will feature Hejum Bä, a painter specializing in abstract art. Bä takes an alternative approach to the traditional concept and medium of abstract painting by deconstructing and reorganizing the images from moving images to create paintings incorporating strong colors, language, and movement.

Frieze Masters, which will feature works from before the 20th century, will consist of eighteen galleries. Two local galleries, Gallery Hyundai and Hakgojae, will be featured in this section.

Patrick Lee, director of Frieze Seoul, stated, “It has been truly exciting to work with all our participating galleries on our first fair in Asia. There is a powerful sense of anticipation that gives every indication of the strong appetite for Frieze Seoul, and we are really looking forward to welcoming everyone to celebrate the creative life of the city this September.”

KIAF, one of Seoul’s major art fairs organized by the Galleries Association of Korea, will run concurrently with Frieze Seoul and will host 164 galleries. Together, the two fairs will feature approximately 280 galleries from around the globe.

Frieze Seoul will be held at COEX from September 2 to September 5.

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