Behind the Scenes: Organizing the Incheon Asian Art Show With Hyo-joon Cha
“The artist’s heart (who made the work) is more important than the price of the work. I hope visitors will see the artist’s sincerity and the beauty of one’s work,” Hyo-joon Cha, CEO of the KUVA Arts Center, who presents more than 60 works by contemporary art masters at the Incheon Asian Art Show (IAAS), recently said at a press conference on Chaebit Island, Seoul. The IAAS will be held at Songdo Convensia in Incheon for four days from November 23, 2023. The IAAS, which marks its third anniversary this year, has become a hot topic, as it has decided to showcase works by artists who are not easy to view at Frieze Seoul, including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Alberto Giacometti, and Amedeo Modigliani. At the meeting, the IAAS Organizing Committee and the KUVA Arts Center talked about how to secure works, exhibitions, transportation, and security.
CEO Cha has been an auctioneer since 2006 and held Korea’s first cruise auction in June of this year. Regarding participation in IAAS, he said, “The works were secured for exhibitions by collectors in New York, Japan, and Europe. We decided to display the works based on the possibility of Incheon, where overseas art lovers can come closest and accessible to Seoul.” The KUVA Arts Center will first showcase 60 pieces that have arrived in Korea out of 100 works of contemporary art that the KUVA Arts Center is collecting in preparation for exhibitions in Busan and Singapore in December.
The KUVA Arts Center will present 16 Basquiat works, six Haring works, three Giacometti works, one jeans series by Damien Hirst, and three prints and sketches by Modigliani at IAAS. Keith Haring’s work was brought from New York and Modigliani’s work from Italy over a four-month period. In particular, the drawing work owned by the granddaughter of Modigliani will be released for the third time in Korea after Europe and Singapore. The print was used as the cover of Luis Rinser’s novel Mitte Des Levens.
CEO Cha also released a video of the Giacometti work moving to Korea through the Giacometti Center in Switzerland, which is run by the artist’s descendants. It also released one of the eight pieces of Damien Hirst’s collaboration with American jeans company Levi’s. It was said to be the third such exhibition in Korea.
The price of these works is high enough to reach about USD 2.35 million to $7.68 million in the auction market. As a result, there were constant concerns about transportation and security. “Because there is an obligation to protect works, major works may be protected with acrylic, while there may be some restrictions on movement, separating the exit from the entrance in preparation for crowding,” CEO Cha said. “You will be able to hear the storytelling of these works through the docent during the exhibition.”
In addition to overseas artists, the KUVA Arts Center also introduces works by Sung Hy Shin, Sung Soun Chang, Paik Joo Sung, Cha Soong Koo, Ufan Lee, and Shi Ji Byun as domestic artists. In addition to these works, IAAS displays more than 5,000 works of domestic and foreign art. “The Korean art market is growing, such as hosting Frieze Seoul recently, and when I talked to some artists about IAAS, they said it was a place where works could be sold,” CEO Cha said. “As the cultural level increases, the MZ generation [Millennials and Generation Z] is not afraid to enter the gallery as in the past, so many people will visit IAAS.”