The Korea Herald


Catch latest art trends and pick up one for your home


Published : Sept. 21, 2011 - 18:31

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Over 5,000 artworks showing at Korea International Art Fair this week at COEX

To the delight of many art aficionados in South Korea, the nation’s biggest art fair will kick off on Thursday at COEX in Samseong-dong, southern Seoul.

The 10th Korea International Art Fair is bigger than ever. It will offer a wide array of over 5,000 artworks ranging from paintings, sculptures, installations, media works and photos during the five-day run. A total of 192 art galleries including 117 local ones and 75 from 16 other countries are joining the event. The total number of participating artists is expected to be nearly 2,000.

Organized by Galleries Association of Korea and COEX, KIAF has been playing a significant role as the opener for the autumn, the peak season of the art market. By introducing the hottest up-and-coming artists from around the world as well as the steady sellers, KIAF has become a must-go event for many art fans in Asia.

The past 10 years of KIAF mirrors the growth of Korea’s art market. The number of participating galleries has doubled since the first fair in 2002 ― only 100 participated back then. Total sales increased 20 times as of last year compared to the first which marked about $730,000 (837 million won). The number of visitors increased fourfold during the past decade, from 18,000 in 2002 to 72,000 last year. 
“EVO NO. 1” by Ben Quilty (KIAF) “EVO NO. 1” by Ben Quilty (KIAF)
“For You” by Tracey Emin (KIAF) “For You” by Tracey Emin (KIAF)

This year’s KIAF highlights what are considered less marketable genres of art, such as installations and media works, as well as more easily-sold paintings and sculptures. In the special exhibition section titled “Art Flash,” 18 galleries including Gana Art Gallery and PKM Gallery will showcase representative installations or media works.

“Art genres tended to be limited to paintings and sculptures in previous art fairs, to paintings and sculptures. We prepared this section to provide more attractions. Art Flash aims to show various features of contemporary art and nourish the Korean art market,” said the organizers.

Visitors will also be able to find the BMW M3 GT2, the BMW art car designed by U.S. artist Jeff Koons. For the past 36 years, BMW has been producing art cars designed by world-class artists such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Frank Stella and David Hockney, setting an example of collaboration between companies and artists.

While KIAF 2010 selected the U.K., the long-leading country in contemporary art, as the guest country, it chose Australia this year to introduce some of the country’s unfamiliar yet intriguing up-and-coming artists. This year also marks the 50th anniversary of Korea-Australia diplomatic relations.

Seventeen Australian galleries will present 65 distinguished artists, forming the largest representation of contemporary Australian art at any international art fair to date. Among the artists, 15 including Ben Quilty, one of the most popular Aussie artists today known for bold and energetic paintings; and Robert Owen, a senior artist who explores geometrical sculpture and abstract paintings, will visit the fair.

Lectures on contemporary art trends, art business and art investment are offered during the exhibition period as well.

KIAF 2011 runs from Sept. 22 to 26 at Hall A and B of COEX in Samseong-dong, southern Seoul. Tickets range from 10,000 won to 15,000 won. For more information, call (02)766-3702~4 or visit

By Park Min-young  (