Frieze Seoul proves hot as first Asian art fair, drawing tycoons and pop and film stars

2022.09.07 14:06:44 | 2022.09.07 14:43:49

[Photo by Park Hyung-ki]이미지 확대

[Photo by Park Hyung-ki]

South Korean and Chinese riches flooded into the first Asian Frieze art fair in Seoul cohosted with the Korea International Art Fair (KIAF) for a marketplace of near $1 billion for art pieces of established and up-and-coming artists around the world.

The Frieze Seoul ran for four days from Friday in Coex in southern Seoul. The high-end art fair featured 110 galleries with artworks by renowned contemporary artists as a part of Frieze`s pivot Asia campaign.

It collaborated with KIAF, Korea’s long-running local fair, to host an international and a Korean art fair at the same time.

The opening day brought together art-loving tycoons - Hong Ra-hee, the wife of the late Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee and the former director of Leeum Museum of Art and her daughter Lee Seo-hyun, who leads the advisory board at Leeum, Kolon Group’s former chairman Lee Woong-yeol, Paradise Culture Foundation chairwoman Choi Yoon-jung, Crown Confectionary CEO Yoon Young-dal, and Global Sae-A Chairman Kim Woong-ki who owns the most expensive Korean artwork to date - Kim Whanki’s “Universe.”

Corporate attention is critical to breed the Korean art market that makes up just 1 percent of the global share, said Korea Mecenat Association CEO and Byucksan Engineering chairman Kim Higgin who was happy see the gush of interest from the corporate community, while calling for more tax incentives to draw more funding to arts.

Under the current tax law, only artworks valued under 60 million won ($43,237) are exempt from capital gains tax.

Among the big shoppers were Koo Ja-yeol, LS Group and Korea International Trade Association (KITA) chairman, Choi, the CEO of Cowell Group.

The Frieze which was held for four days and KIAF for five days drew more than 70,000 viewers.

Among VIPs outside business community were K-pop stars RM of BTS and Taeyang of Big Bang as well as A-list actors Lee Jung-jae, Jun Ji-hyun, Jung Woo-sung, and Park Hae-il .

Given the rise of art interests of the young and rich, NFTs of A-list actor and director Ha Jung-woo’s new artwork sold out in just one minute and 20 seconds.

Artworks were in high demand from the opening day with Gerhard Richter’s “Candle” put on hold for $15 million.

According to Frieze, half of the art pieces in multiple million dollars were reserved by wealthy Chinese, 30 percent have been sold to overseas buyers and 20 percent to Koreans.

By Lee Han-na, Kim Seul-gi, and Susan Lee

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