Korea’s First Large-Scale Art Fair of 2023, BAMA, Opens in Busan
An art fair was held at BEXCO in Haeundae, Busan on March 2, 2023 to read the atmosphere of this year’s Korean art market. Hosted by the Galleries Association of Busan (GAB), the 12th Busan Annual Market of Art (BAMA) was the first large-scale art fair held in Korea this year. With the Korean art market in a slump due to the economic downturn last year, the BAMA is expected to forecast future Korean art market trends.
The BAMA, which met visitors until March 5, 2023, featured 153 galleries, including six overseas galleries, to showcase 4,000 pieces. GAB said more than 300 galleries at home and abroad applied for the art fair. BAMA, which started in 2012, had 165 galleries and 5,000 pieces last year, but its size has decreased slightly in 2023. In particular, last year, the line increased even before the opening, leading to an ‘open run’ phenomenon. This trend reflected the broader Korean art market, which heated up by selling about USD 20 million (about KRW 25 billion). GAB said that about 50,000 people visited the BAMA preview, which involved 40 galleries for ten days from February 10, 2023.
BAMA prepared various special programs. It presented the Yun Suknam Master Exhibition, which explored the world of artworks by Yun Suknam, an artist representing Korean feminist art. Born in Manchuria in 1939, Yun Suknam is an artist with outstanding originality, starting art in her 40s and combining women, ecology, and history with modern art media. She was also called the godmother of Korean feminist art and won the 23rd Lee In-sung Art Award in 2022.
In order to foster local artists, a special exhibition titled Degree Show was held to collect graduation works from art colleges in Busan. Attendees could meet young artists who will lead Korean art in the future. The show also featured 2030 NEXT ART, which showed the future of art. Together with Ground X, a blockchain affiliate of Kakao Group, it dealt with NFTs and digital artworks.
In addition, various docent tour programs; art bus tours visiting tourist attractions and cultural and artistic complexes in Busan; and special lectures were held. “BAMA will contribute to the expansion of local art markets in Busan, Ulsan, and Gyeongnam, while building a brand image that does not lose the original purpose of the art fair that presents the direction of art, and leading a virtuous cycle of the art culture ecosystem,” said Yoon Young-sook, chairman of GAB.
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