Visitors view the artworks on display at the Galleries Art Fair 2022 during Wednesday’s VIP preview session. (Park Yuna/The Korea Herald)
The five-day art fair kicked off Wednesday at the Seoul Trade Exhibition Convention in Gangnam-gu, southern Seoul. According to the Galleries Association of Korea, it attracted some 5,300 visitors and earned revenue of 17.7 billion won ($14.5 million), more than double the revenue of 7.2 billion won from last year.
The annual art fair recorded sales of 4.5 billion won during the five-hour VIP preview, which is actually the first day of the art fair. Nearly 4,000 visitors rushed as soon as the art fair opened at 3 p.m., with many people queuing to enter the fair. Some gallery owners saw visitors running into the venue as soon as the doors opened, reminding them of “open running”, a Korean term that describes people who run as soon as shops open to buy popular items.
“I’ve never seen this kind of open run at an art fair,” said a gallery owner from Gana Art, one of the country’s leading commercial art galleries, adding that most of the works by art sold out on day one.
A Gana Art booth at Galleries Art Fair 2022 (Park Yuna/The Korea Herald)
Many galleries have promoted the works of young artists in response to young collectors who have become an important buying power in the local art market. The special “Zoom-In” exhibition which aimed to showcase Korea’s emerging artists has led to the sale of the works of the seven exhibiting artists, according to fair organizers.
“The queue to enter the room was extremely long from noon on the first day. Many galleries presented young artists at the fair this year,” Hwang Dal-seung, president of the Korea Gallery Association, told the Korea Herald.
“Apartment Blues” by Yun Pil-hyun, represented by Keumsan Gallery, sold out on the first day of Galleries Art Fair 2022. (Park Yuna/The Korea Herald)
A PKM gallery, another important gallery in Seoul, presented works by Yun Hyong-keun (1928-2007), a leading figure in the dansaekhwa art movement in Korea. A small painting by the artist, about 50-60 centimeters high, was immediately snapped up by a young buyer for about 100 million won. At the fair, PKM sold two small works by Yun.
“The paintings are rare works by the artists in terms of size,” a gallery owner from the PKM Gallery told the Korea Herald. Although there is a great demand for Yun’s small works, the artist has not produced many small works and there are only a few left on the market.
This year’s show was held at SETEC, a change of venue from Coex where the show has been held for many years. The change is attributed to attempts by the Galleries Association of Korea to test the site for the upcoming Kiaf Plus, a Kiaf Seoul satellite exhibition scheduled for early September alongside Frieze Seoul 2022.
By Park Yuna ([email protected])