Frieze Seoul Returns in September With 330 Participating Galleries
In September 2023, Seoul will welcome autumn with art. Frieze Seoul, which was first held last year, has confirmed this year’s schedule. Starting with a preview on September 6, Frieze Seoul returns at COEX in Seoul from September 7 to 9, 2023. Just like last year, it will be co-hosted with Korea’s largest art fair, Kiaf Seoul, which will be held from September 6 to 10, 2023.
The upcoming Frieze Seoul event is bigger than last year, and the same is true of Kiaf Seoul. More than 120 galleries from 30 countries around the world will participate in Frieze Seoul. The Galleries Association of Korea, which hosts Kiaf Seoul, said 210 galleries from more than 20 countries, including 140 Korean galleries, will participate in Kiaf Seoul this year. These art fairs are characterized by an increase in the proportion of Asian galleries.
Frieze Seoul returns with a Main section, Frieze Masters section, and Focus Asia section. In the Main section, 89 overseas galleries and Korean galleries will participate, including Gagosian, Hauser & Wirth, Face Gallery, David Zwirner, Thadaeus Ropac, and Lehmann Maupin. The Frieze Masters section, which presents works from the old masters to masterpieces in the late 20th century, will feature more than 20 domestic and foreign galleries. In the Focus Asia section, ten Asian-based galleries that have opened since 2011 will introduce one artist each.
“Following the successful first fair in Seoul last year, Asian-based galleries will showcase their best works this year,” said Patrick Lee, director of Frieze Seoul. “We will provide a venue for cultural exchange through various programs for artists, collectors, curators and art lovers around the world.”
Frieze Seoul also established an artist award to promote new artists to the international stage starting this year. Artist Woo Hannah was selected as the first winner. She is an artist who has been working on shaping human and animal body parts and organs using fabrics. “Woo Hannah opened a world of sculpture that breaks conventional wisdom along with careful consideration of femininity,” the judging panel said. Her award-winning work is The Great Ballroom, which is a work of recycled fabric in the form of a female breast. Frieze Seoul introduced, “It is a work that makes everyone embrace and recognize the time and aging that they experience.” It will be installed on the ceiling of the exhibition hall during the event.
Kiaf Seoul will also hold a variety of events this year. Eight domestic and foreign galleries will participate in the solo section in the form of an individual exhibition. Kiaf Plus, which was held separately last year, will be incorporated into the section of Kiaf Seoul this year and introduces NFTs and new media art, focusing on emerging artists’ works.
“Kiaf Seoul first co-hosted with Frieze Seoul last year, showing Seoul’s potential as an international art hub,” said Dal-Seung Hwang, chairman of the Galleries Association of Korea. “This year, we are working hard to establish Seoul as a hub in the Asian art market.”
Meanwhile, the world-renowned art fair brand Frieze debuted in Seoul for the first time in Asia last year, holding events simultaneously with Kiaf Seoul. A total of 274 domestic and foreign galleries set up booths at the two art fairs, and visitors were crowded and boisterous during the event. The number of visitors was estimated to be 70,000 (excluding duplicate visits). Sales were estimated to be more than USD 457.1 million (about KRW 600 billion) for Frieze and about $54 million (around KRW 70 billion) for Kiaf.