K-Content News

Art Busan fair kicks off
  • May 13, 2021

Art Busan fair kicks off

Updated : 2021-05-13 16:50

By Park Han-sol

Art Busan, the largest premium art fair in Korea, kicked off Thursday at BEXCO Exhibition Center in the southeastern city of Busan, with the participation of 110 renowned local and international galleries from 10 countries.

Founded in 2012, the 10th edition of the four-day fair began with a press and VIP preview session and will be open to the public until Sunday.

Some prominent galleries have returned to the fair once again, including Europe-based Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, which recorded one of the highest sales figures at last year's event with the works of artists Georg Baselitz and Alex Katz, as well as Berlin's Peres Projects.

Other international galleries are joining Art Busan for the first time amid Koreans' rising interest in the art market. These include Berlin-based Esther Schipper and Commonwealth and Council from Los Angeles, which previously participated in the leading fair Art Basel and Frieze Art Fair.

Major local galleries, such as Kukje Gallery, Gallery Hyundai, Arario Gallery, PKM Gallery and Gana Art, present the latest contemporary art trends, while rising galleries, including Gallery Planet and Artside Gallery, are gearing towards the increasing number of young collectors.

In addition to gallery booths, Art Busan also hosts a total of 10 different special exhibitions. This year's "Art Accent," which aims to promote young rising artists, features works that marry traditional Korean painting style with contemporary concepts.

To lower barriers to the public engaging in the art market, one exhibition presents a personal collection from "the ordinary office worker-collector" Lim Jung-yeol, who focuses more on artworks conveying critical social messages rather than aesthetics alone.

Renowned Berlin-based Danish artist Olafur Eliasson's participatory media art piece "Your Happening, Has Happened, Will Happen," whose work was displayed at the Tate Modern in London in 2019, makes an appearance as well. Seven colors of spotlights that shine upon a white wall interact with the viewer's silhouettes, creating a visual harmony among light, shadows and colors.

Another internationally acclaimed artist Philip Parreno presents the installation "My Room is Another Fish Bowl." Fish-shaped balloons float at different heights, transforming the exhibition hall space into a gigantic fish bowl.

Customized online viewing rooms and smartphone apps are available for those who cannot take part in the fair in person to experience the current art market trends and interact with the participatory media content.

Local art fairs have been enjoying a newfound boom this year. Galleries Art Fair, the oldest art fair in the country, saw the best turnout ever of nearly 50,000 visitors during its run in March, while the Busan Annual Market of Art held last month reached its highest sales figure yet of 6.5 billion won.