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Buoyed by government support, Frieze Seoul and Kiaf Seoul confident of successful second collaboration

By Park Yuna

Published : Aug. 17, 2023 - 19:50

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Hwang Dal-sung, president of the Galleries Association of Korea, speaks at the joint press conference of Frieze Seoul and Kiaf Seoul on Thursday at the Westin Josun Seoul. (M public) Hwang Dal-sung, president of the Galleries Association of Korea, speaks at the joint press conference of Frieze Seoul and Kiaf Seoul on Thursday at the Westin Josun Seoul. (M public)

The second collaboration between Frieze Seoul and Kiaf Seoul will bring together some 330 galleries from around the world in early September at Ceox, a convention center in southern Seoul, with the festive atmosphere in the city boosted by the city government's support.

“Kiaf Seoul will be supported by the Seoul Metropolitan Government this year. We had transportation issues for foreigners during the two fairs (Kiaf Seoul and Frieze Seoul) last year, which is expected to be resolved with the city government’s support,” said Hwang Dal-sung, president of the Galleries Association of Korea, the organizer of Kiaf Seoul, at a joint press conference organized by the two fairs on Thursday in Seoul.

The two fairs will take place from Sept. 6 to 9, with Kiaf Seoul running through Sept. 10. Kiaf Seoul will be joined by 210 galleries from 20 countries, while Frieze Seoul will feature more than 120 leading international galleries, including 70 galleries based in Asia. Some 30 galleries will be newly joining Frieze Seoul.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government announced Wednesday the city government will contribute to boosting the art scene in the capital city, supporting the fairs and arranging a variety of art programs from Sept. 1 to 10, naming the period Seoul Art Week.

The city will offer call taxi service for foreigners visiting the city during Seoul Art Week in cooperation with i.M, a Seoul-based taxi service company. Those who access the company’s English-version website can call a taxi, designating a destination, according to the city government and i.M.

With the second edition of Frieze Seoul this year, the two fairs will collaborate for the second time, allowing people to enter both fairs with a joint ticket and hosting a talk program from Sept. 7 to 9 at Coex. The speakers include Chong Do-ryun, deputy director and chief curator M+, Hong Kong; Angelle Siyang-Le, director of Art Basel Hong Kong; and Virginia Moon, associate curator of Korean Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

“Frieze Seoul, together with Kiaf Seoul, in our second year have become an anchor in the city’s art calendar, underscoring Seoul’s position as Asia’s most exiting art capital on the rise. With a strong contingent of Korea- and Asia-based galleries, Frieze Seoul promises to bring together the best in local, regional and international creativity,” said Patrick Lee, director of Frieze Seoul.

Information centers for foreigners will be set up at Corner Gallery in Jongno district's Samcheong-dong and NEMO-Bluesquare in Yongsan district's Hannam-dong. The two fairs will be celebrated with three late-night openings in three of Seoul’s gallery districts -- Hannam-dong, Samcheong-dong and Gangnam district's Cheongdam-dong -- with galleries and art institutions hosting parties and special exhibitions late into the evening.

The two fairs last year attracted more than 70,000 visitors from home and abroad, according to the city government.

Frieze Seoul, featuring a strong core of Asia-based exhibitors, will include two special sections: Focus Asia for solo presentations from young galleries based in Asia, and Frieze Masters, dedicated to art from antiquity through the 20th century.

At Frieze Masters, Gallery Hyundai will introduce works by Korean artist Rhee Seundja to an international audience, presenting the artist’s lyrical abstraction over her six-decade career. Meanwhile, rare book dealer Peter Harrington will showcase rare books that track the evolution of manuscripts and print culture from their beginnings in East Asia through the 20th century.

Kiaf Seoul, meanwhile, will strengthen its presentation of young and emerging artists this year with the special section titled Kiaf Plus. Kiaf Seoul will mark its 22th edition as the country’s long-running international art fair.

"I am cautiously optimistic that the atmosphere will be a positive one. Frieze and Kiaf Seoul together are exposing new audiences to new art and are a platform for Asian galleries like Vadehra Art Gallery from India. I have a long-term view to facilitate meaningful interactions in Seoul,” Lee said.