Five Korean artists to follow ahead of Frieze Seoul
We asked director Pat Lee what the art fair’s first Asian outing means for the city – which we’re celebrating with a Soho House pop-up
Thursday 1 September 2022 By Anastasiia Fedorova
This week, all eyes of the global art world are on Seoul, where the first Frieze art fair to take place in Asia will run from 2 to 5 September. The event, led by Frieze Seoul director Pat Lee, will feature over 110 galleries from across Asia and internationally.
‘Frieze choosing Seoul for its first fair in Asia validates the strength of the cultural scene here,’ Lee explains. ‘Seoul is a dynamic place with a sophisticated and inquisitive audience possessing a well-known appreciation of the arts, be it fine art, music, design, film, fashion or architecture.
‘Korean art lovers are so open to learning and educating themselves and to engage with the artists and galleries. They also love to share information and thoughts. Right now, the speed of sharing these thoughts via social media is skewed towards a younger audience, which has led to the growth of the appreciation of contemporary art. I hope that Frieze can help to increase exposure and dialogue in this regard.’
Art, of course, is a key part of Soho House’s vision, too. As such, we’re hosting a Soho House pop-up lounge to celebrate the debut of Frieze Seoul on the rooftop of KÖNIG GALERIE for members and local creatives.
The event will take place over two evenings, on 3 and 4 September, and will offer guests the opportunity to explore KÖNIG SEOUL's current solo exhibition featuring Matthias Weischer in the main gallery, alongside sculptures by David Zink Yi, Erwin Wurm, Katharina Grosse and Michael Sailstorfer on the rooftop.
To mark the occasion, we asked Pat Lee to choose five Korean artists to have on your radar right now. Scroll down to see his selections.
Born and raised in Seoul, Sungsil Ryu’s work delves deep into Korea’s material culture. Through YouTube-inspired videos, performances and immersive installations, the artist uncovers the comical, the uncanny and the endless drive for newness capturing the country’s visual aesthetic, spirituality and more. The artist becomes a virtual subject in her video works, which address themes of war, religion, sex, death and critiques of traditional values – topics often considered taboo.
Kang Seung Lee is a South Korean-born multidisciplinary artist who now lives and works in Los Angeles. His work – which spans drawing, video and installations – engages with the legacy of transnational queer histories, with a focus on their intersection with art history and an emphasis on marginalised individual experiences and personal histories. By researching, rediscovering, and appropriating images and texts from public and private archives – such as art and object collections, publications and libraries – his work allows for alternative personal voices and counter-narratives to emerge.
Mire Lee lives and works between Seoul and Amsterdam. Her sculptures tap into the legacy of horror and our collective notions of the body, cleanliness and transgression. She uses towels, chains, clay, silicon hoses, and steel structures to form an organism that is haptic and primordial, yet highly mechanised to create pieces with a mesmerising effect on audiences.
Using video, performance, 3D animation, diagrams, texts and speculative fiction to produce complex and visually striking works, Ayoung Kim interrogates technology and our place within the future worlds. Through a process that blends the fictional and the historical, the artist seeks to evoke unfamiliar forms of reading, listening and thinking.
An iconic figure in the Korean art scene, Lee Seung Take is by no means a new name, but if he’s not already on your radar, he should be. The sculptor, installation and performance artist, born in 1932, is one of the first-generation pioneers of experimental art in Korea and the notion of ‘anti-concept’ or ‘anti-art’. Known for ‘non-sculptural’ artworks, Lee worked largely independently and created works that deviated from the dominant artistic concepts in Korea – and in the process, he formed the starting point for a different kind of avant-garde lineage.