Will the Korean Auction Market Heat Up After Frieze Seoul?

Jonathan Feel
Published on

The global art fair Frieze Seoul has ended. The event, which was held for three days, attracted about 70,000 people. It showed that interest in the art market was hot despite the recent economic downturn. As a result, the Korean art auction market is also drawing attention.

KAWS’ Companion (Original Fake). Image courtesy of K Auction.
KAWS’ Companion (Original Fake). Image courtesy of K Auction.

South Korean auction company K Auction auctioned a total of 102 works worth about USD 6.26 million at its headquarters in Gangnam-gu, Seoul, on September 20, 2023. K Auction’s most notable lot in advance of the sale was Companion (Original Fake), a 2.5-meter-long sculpture made by artist KAWS (Brian Donnelly). This work was estimated to sell for about $1.06 million to $1.21 million, with the artist’s trademark X-shaped eyes. Large sculptures by KAWS were introduced as public art projects around the world, promoting graffiti art to the public.

Other works by masters who attracted the attention of visitors at Frieze Seoul were also exhibited. George Condo’s The Arrival (about $513,000 to $642,000), Robert Indiana’s Hope (Red/Yellow) (about $151,000 to $264,000), and Ayako Rokkaku’s Untitled (about $717,000 to $943,000) met new owners.

In the Korean modern and contemporary art category, works by masters such as Tschang-yeul Kim’s Water Drop (about $151,000 to $226,000), Ufan Lee’s With the Wind (about $370,000 to $491,000), and Hyong-Keun Yun’s Work (about $30,000 to $75,000) were submitted. In addition, the works of masters Kun-yong Lee and Kang-So Lee, who were invited to the Korean Experimental Art Exhibition currently being held at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, were presented.

Seoul Auction, another Korean auction company, will also hold an auction at the Gangnam Center on September 26, 2023 with a flashy lineup. The company will present works by major modern and contemporary domestic and foreign artists such as Andy Warhol, David Hockney, Whan-ki Kim, and Ufan Lee. The total number of lots is 61, and the auction is expected to bring in about $4.91 million.

Andy Warhol's Dollar Sign. Image courtesy of Seoul Auction.
Andy Warhol’s Dollar Sign. Image courtesy of Seoul Auction.

The most eye-catching work is Andy Warhol’s Dollar Sign. Created in 1981, this work displays the artist’s consideration of the relationship between art and commerce in a capitalist society. It has an estimate of about $453,000 to $756,000. David Hockney’s iPad Drawing Edition has an estimated price range of around $129,000 to $227,000. The work is one of a series of works by Hockney on an iPad depicting the landscape of East Yorkshire, England, from January to June of 2011.

In the Korean modern and contemporary sections, Ufan Lee’s Untitled (about $453,000 to $680,000), Whan-ki Kim’s 18-Ⅷ-69 #106 (about $204,000 to $378,000), and Young-kuk Yoo’s Work (about $151,000 to $302,000) are available. Bidders can also see works by experimental art masters Ku-lim Kim, Kang-so Lee, and Seung-Won Suh. The auction entries will be available free of charge at the Seoul Auction Gangnam Center until September 26, the day of the auction.

Media Source
Jonathan Feel
Jonathan Feel

Jonathan Feel is a reporter and editor for Auction Daily in Korea. He has been active in various fields such as the media, social economy, village community, and fair trade coffee industry and is writing. It is recognized that art is not far from society and the times, and that art can be a tool for the sustainability of the Earth and mankind. He hopes that good works and artists in Korea will meet with readers.

김이준수는 한국 주재 옥션데일리 필진이자 편집자이다. 언론, 사회적경제, 마을공동체, 공정무역 커피업계 등 다양한 분야에서 활동했고 글을 쓰고 있다. 예술이 사회·시대와 동떨어져 있지 않으며, 예술이 지구와 인류의 지속가능성을 위한 도구가 될 수 있음을 인식하고 있다. 한국의 좋은 작품과 아티스트를 많이 소개하고 싶다.

More in the auction industry