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The art fair wayfinder: craft your journey through Frieze Seoul/Kiaf SEOUL 2023

Eazel Magazine

Sep 04, 2023

How do you plan your route to navigate an art fair? Fairgoers adopt an array of strategies that suit their interests. Some prefer to explore organically, moving from left to right or south to north. Others may purposefully begin with prestigious galleries before delving into mid-career or early-stage booths.


Another strategy applies to art collectors who've established connections with galleries prior to the fair. Certain galleries proactively equip collectors with PDF checklists before the fair's commencement. For collectors who've already made advanced reservations—possibly as part of an agreement to evaluate and potentially acquire pieces following the fair opening—it's logical to prioritize these galleries for their initial rounds.


As Frieze Seoul/Kiaf 2023 gains momentum, the participating galleries have unveiled their booth programs, providing a tantalizing peek at what’s to come. Combining these announcements with existing gallery relations, eazel has previewed the fair programs to dissect the themes and experiences that shape this vibrant event in Seoul. We've curated a series of thematic fair journeys that are nothing short of transformative. Prepare to fully immerse yourself in the unparalleled artistic odyssey that is Frieze Seoul/Kiaf.



The Legacies of Great Women Artists


Frieze Seoul: Miriam Cahn (Galerie Jocelyn Wolff, A12) > Lynda Benglis (Paula Cooper Gallery, A30) > Pacita Abad (Tina Kim Gallery, B19) > Etel Adnan (Galerie Lelong & Co., C20) > Nalini Malani (Galerie Lelong & Co. (C20) & Arario Gallery (A22))


I​​t's a proven success to follow the trajectory of celebrated artists with storied careers. This year's fairs will feature diverse galleries presenting works by acclaimed women artists at the pinnacle of their creative journey. 

In collaboration with Meyer Riegger, Galerie Jocelyn Wolff will unveil the latest paintings by Swiss painter Miriam Cahn (b.1949), who recently held an acclaimed solo exhibition at Palais de Tokyo in Paris. Just a short distance away, Paula Cooper Gallery presents a wall-mounted sculptural relief meticulously crafted by none other than Lynda Benglis (b.1941). Titled ORANGE GLOW (2017), the artwork bears Benglis’ skillful manipulation of organic forms and unconventional materials.



(l) Miriam Cahn, vor meinem fenster, 1.11.21, 2021. Courtesy of Galerie Jocelyn Wolff, Paris and Meyer Riegger, Berlin, Karlsruhe, and Basel
(r) Pacita Abad, Strange Fruit, 2002. Courtesy of Tina Kim Gallery, New York. Photo: Lyn Nguyen


Among other international artists, New York-based Tina Kim Gallery will showcase a mixed media framed artwork by Pacita Abad (1946 - 2004), who captures evolving transcultural identities. Abad is currently featured in a North American retrospective at the Walker Art Center, with upcoming stops at SFMoMA and MoMA PS1. In its second year at Frieze Seoul, Galerie Lelong & Co. presents Etel Adnan (1925-2021) and Nalini Malani (b.1946). The presentation will cover a range of Adnan's creative practices, including oil painting, wool tapestry, and etching work. Tamalpaïs, Adnan's ink on paper creation from the 1990s, stands out by connecting with earlier paintings through suggestive landscapes and forms. Prominent South Asian artist Nalini Malani sparks visual dialogues through religious and historical imagery, as seen in Sita II (2006) and Radha (2006). During Frieze Week, Malani takes center stage with her solo exhibition, My Reality is Different (Sep 1 - Oct 21, 2023), at the local Arario Gallery.



Young, Yet Celebrated by Acclaimed Talent


Frieze Seoul: Woody De Othello (Jessica Silverman, A3) > Bendt Eyckermans (Carlos/Ishikawa, A26) > Sahara Longe (Timothy Taylor, C21) > Tammy Nguyễn (Lehmann Maupin, C11) 

Kiaf: Bernadette Despujols (Rachel Uffner Gallery, A84) > Shaina McCoy (Duarte Sequeira, B25)


Discovering emerging talents at fairs brings joy to art enthusiasts. These talents include artists starting their careers and those recognized by the market and academia. Galleries are keen to include young artists in their fair programs in order to connect with new collectors and expand potential support for future art projects.



(l) Woody De Othello, reminded of their power, 2023. Courtesy of Jessica Silverman, San Francisco, Karma, New York, and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London. Photo: Phillip Maisel
(r) Sahara Longe, Queue, 2023. © Sahara Longe, courtesy of Timothy Taylor, London


San Francisco-based Jessica Silverman Gallery presents a solo booth at Frieze Seoul, featuring accomplished California-based emerging artist, Woody De Othello (b. 1991), who breathes anthropomorphic life into everyday objects. The presentation offers a wide selection of artworks, including glazed ceramic sculptures and oil paintings on canvas. Carlos/Ishikawa’s inclusion of Bendt Eyckermans (b.1994) in its Frieze Seoul program will certainly excite art collectors. The gallery unveils an oil and acrylic ink painting crafted over a two-year span, which incorporates symbolic elements such as statues to mirror Eyckermans’ multigenerational sculptor heritage.

Timothy Taylor Gallery makes a visit to Seoul with a solo exhibition featuring Sahara Longe (b.1994). Longe, who resides in London, has already gained recognition, with collections housed in prestigious institutions like the FLAG Art Foundation in New York and the Zabludowicz Collection in London. In Seoul, she presents a portrait series in which figures appear distracted and haunted by something just beyond the frame. Tammy Nguyễn (b.1984), who recently unveiled her solo exhibition at ICA Boston (Aug 24, 2023 - Jan 28, 2024), creates attention-grabbing artworks that weave Eastern and Western classical literature with contemporary social issues. Lehmann Maupin has selected two of Nguyễn’s latest paintings for Frieze Seoul.



Tammy Nguyen
My Guide and I, 2023
Courtesy of Lehmann Maupin (multiple cities)


At Kiaf on the first floor of COEX, the quest to discover young talent continues. Among the 6 artists featured in Rachel Uffner Gallery's Seoul showcase, one name takes the spotlight: Venezuelan artist Bernadette Despujols (b.1986), who is recognized by both art enthusiasts and professionals. Her canvases display intricate details and dynamic brushwork, seamlessly transitioning between thick impasto and controlled restraint to portray daily life. Following Shaina McCoy (b.1993)'s recent solo exhibition at its gallery venue in Seoul, Duarte Sequeira has incorporated several paintings by McCoy in its fair offerings. While Despujols' brushstrokes exude meticulous and subtle allure, McCoy's are reminiscent of sculptural texture and volume translated onto a flat canvas.



Immersing in the Poetic Array of Abstract Landscapes


Frieze Seoul: Jung KangJa (1942-2017, Arario Gallery, A22) > Dan Walsh (b. 1960, Paula Cooper Gallery, A30) > Mary Weatherford (b. 1963, David Kordansky Gallery, A34) > Various works by Korean abstract painters including Yun Hyong-keun (1928-2007), Ha Chong Hyun (b. 1935), Seo-bo Park (b. 1931), Kim Tschang-Yeul (1929-2021) (PKM Gallery (A14), Johyun Gallery (C3), Almine Rech (C23), Axel Vervoordt (M20))

Kiaf: Lee Chae (b. 1989, UARTSPACE, G9) > Casper Kang (b. 1981, Gallery KUZO, G10)


While figurative paintings have held the art market's favor over the past few years, a notable shift towards abstract art emerged at the start of this year. This trend began with Action, Gesture, Paint: Women Artists and Global Abstraction 1940 - 1970 at the Whitechapel Gallery (Feb 9 - May 7, 2023), followed by the ongoing Action/Abstraction Redefined: Modern Native Art, 1940s-1970s exhibit at the Saint Louis Art Museum (Jun 24 - Sep 3, 2023). 

Gagosian London also recently concluded a summer group show titled To Bend the Ear of the Outer World: Conversations on contemporary abstract painting. Even when not overtly tied to the industry, the intrigue lies in appreciating the abstract undertones that coexist alongside or between diverse figurative paintings, adding a captivating dimension to the enjoyment of art fairs.



(l) Ha Chong Hyun, Conjunction 22-60, 2022. Courtesy of Almine Rech (multiple cities)
(r) Dan Walsh, Release, 2023. © Dan Walsh, courtesy of Paula Cooper Gallery, New York. Photo: Steven Probert


The richness of Korean art transcends conventional boundaries, encompassing diverse forms. Notably, monochromatic art (Dansaekhwa) maintains a profound influence on art enthusiasts and professionals worldwide. Numerous galleries spotlight works by such luminaries, including Yun Hyong-keun (PKM Gallery), Ha Chong Hyun (Almine Rech), and Seo-bo Park (Johyun Gallery). Arario Gallery introduces a 1990s artwork by Jung Kangja (1942-2017), a pioneer of the Korean Avant-Garde movement, that fuses a figurative sensibility with a sophisticated approach to geometric abstraction. Highlighted within Paula Cooper Gallery's collection is a remarkable painting by Dan Walsh (b.1960) that evokes a sense of rhythm through the repetition of patterns and lively colors. Crafted this year, the acrylic painting embodies the artist's continuous exploration of abstract limits. Just steps away, there are Mary Weatherford (b.1963)'s dynamic paintings at David Kordansky Gallery's booth, which presents the artist’s newest pieces. These works offer insight into Weatherdord’s continuous reinvention of abstract painting through innovative materials and techniques, inviting fresh and invigorating perspectives on representation.


Kiaf offers the chance to engage with the younger generation of Korean artists exploring abstraction. UARTSPACE, a Seoul-based art platform known for spotlighting emerging Korean talents, introduces its longstanding affiliated artist, Lee Chae (b.1989), whose geometric abstracts echo traditional ink techniques with serene atmospheres. The local Gallery KUZO is slated to present a solo exhibition featuring Casper Kang (b. 1981)'s captivating works. Kang's creations consist of layers of curved lines that blend dynamic vitality and composed energy. His art delves into the transformation of materiality with a particular focus on Korean traditional paper, hanji, adding a unique cultural touch.



(l) Lee Chae, The Blue Flower [夜雨], 2022. Courtesy of UARTSPACE, Seoul
(r) Casper Kang, Byeol 261, 2023. © Casper Kang, courtesy of Gallery KUZO, Seoul



Dip into the World of Nature, Embrace Its Principles


Frieze Seoul: Young In Hong (b. 1972, PKM Gallery, A14) > Soojung Jung (b. 1990, A-Lounge, F10) > Mevlana Lipp (b. 1989, Capsule Shanghai, F2) > Hannah Woo (b. 1988, G Gallery, F4)

Kiaf: Stephen Thorpe (b. 1981, Ora-Ora, A57) 


A noteworthy contingent of the selected fair artists articulate a profound connection to nature, especially in light of climate change and environmental decay. For its Frieze Seoul lineup, PKM Gallery, a dynamic local establishment, has included a collection of artworks by its prominent artist Young In Hong (b.1972). In her solo exhibition at the gallery last year, Hong focused on the concept of community, emphasizing the disappearing natural bonds that connect all living things.


Making its debut at Frieze Seoul, A-Lounge unveils young Korean talent Soojung Jung (b.1990)'s latest oil paintings within the Focus Asia section, which is dedicated to solo exhibitions of emerging talents from regional galleries. The presentation boasts a four-meter-wide canvas adorned with vibrantly reimagined dynamic figures, capturing Jung's idealized portrayal of their inner worlds and spirits. Jung will also conduct an on-site artist talk during the fair.


Also part of Focus Asia, Capsule Shanghai introduces German artist Mevlana Lipp (b.1989)'s newest hand-painted reliefs that adeptly weave human emotions into ethereal landscapes through botanical elements. Hannah Woo (b.1988), the inaugural recipient of the Frieze Seoul Artist Award, will be featured by G Gallery, showcasing fabric sculptures and installations with imaginative narratives and mythologies. Woo’s artworks take center stage at the booth, capturing the relationship between a female deity and monumental life forms.



(l) Soojung Jung, Bird of paradise, 2023. Courtesy of A-Lounge Gallery, Seoul
(r) Stephen Thorpe, A Mythical Intersection Between Two Worlds, 2023. Courtesy of Ora-Ora, Hong Kong

On the first floor, Hong Kong's Ora-Ora presents artworks by Stephen Thorpe (b.1981). The artist has gained renown for his opulent interior paintings rich with dramatic forest symbolism, which serves as a metaphor for overcoming challenges and embarking on a transformative journey of self-discovery.



The Tangible World and the Unseen Digital Realm


Frieze Seoul: Nam June Paik (1932-2006, Gagosian, C14) > Louisa Gagliardi (b. 1989, Galerie Eva Presenhuber, C2) > Seth Price (b. 1973, Galerie Chantal Crousel, B17) > Priyageetha Dia (b. 1992, Yeo Workshop, F9) > Sinae Yoo (Cylinder, F6)


Kiaf: Kohei Kyomori (b. 1985, Whitestone Gallery, B23) > Austin Lee (b. 1983, Peres Projects, B5) > Hansaem Kim (b. 1990, ThisWeekendRoom, G27)


Artists are constant pioneers of perception, creating heightened sensory experiences through dynamic emerging media and narratives. Such exploration takes place within a realm that is often unseen, yet intricately woven into our very existence. This connection defies time and space, weaving memories and the subconscious with visions of what was and what could be, offering fresh perspectives and the promise of uncharted domains.



Nam June Paik
TV Buddha, 2005
Closed-circuit video (color, silent), 13-inch monitor, video camera, tripod, cables, and permanent oil marker on stone Buddha
Overall dimensions variable
© Nam June Paik Estate
Courtesy of Gagosian


Step into the world of artist Nam June Paik, who shapes the core of this theme. Revered across generations for his visionary artistry, he reshaped the frontiers of video and new media, seamlessly weaving digital landscapes into our existence. Uncover the essence of his artistic practice through his iconic work, TV Buddha (2005), on display at Gagosian’s Frieze Seoul booth.


Based in Zurich and Vienna, Galerie Eva Presenhuber has included the latest creation by Swiss artist Louisa Gagliardi (b. 1989), titled Birds of a Feather (2023), which incorporates nail polish and ink on PVC. Gagliardi, who was featured in a solo exhibition at the Swiss Art Awards in 2021, juxtaposes the personal and technological, seamlessly connecting the virtual and physical domains. Since the early 2000s, Seth Price (b.1973) has been compelled by digital culture, consumerism, appropriation, and the evolving landscape of art in the digital era. Galerie Chantal Crousel presents one of Price’s mixed media works, Rogue T-Shirt Pattern (2019), as part of Frieze Seoul. Featuring painterly expressions overlaying printed paper, this work features Price's fascination with the creation and assessment of art, revolving around recontextualizing existing images.


Be sure not to miss Yeo Workshop's booth in Frieze Seoul's Focus Asia section, in which the works by Singaporean artist Priyageetha Dia (b. 1992) is presented. Dia is known for crafting counter-narratives about Southeast Asian history and migration through multimedia installations grounded in digital semiotics. Another highlight is the artistry of Sinae Yoo at the booth of Seoul-based gallery, Cylinder. Centered around “Post Truth,” Yoo reveals her latest series on the interplay between societal truths and deception, tracing origins and manipulation through subjective comprehension. 



(l) Hansaem Kim, Light of Truth, 2023. Courtesy of ThisWeekendRoom, Seoul 
(r) Austin Lee, Hug, 2023. Courtesy of Peres Projects, Berlin, Seoul and Milan

At Kiaf, Whitestone Gallery, having just celebrated the opening of its new Seoul venue, introduces Kohei Kyomori (b.1985), a Japanese artist known for his digitally infused decorative paintings that draw inspiration from European decorative art. Infusing imagination and playfulness, an artwork by Austin Lee (b.1983), soon to be showcased in a solo exhibition at Lotte Museum of Art in Seoul (Passing Time, Sep 26 - Dec 31, 2023), will adorn a wall in Peres Projects’ booth. This piece encapsulates the core of Lee's artistic evolution, effortlessly moving from the digital to the physical realm. With innocent, cartoon-inspired imagery, Lee’s art digs into the realms of online culture and art consumption. Showcased at Kiaf Plus, local ThisWeekendRoom highlights a selection of Hansaem Kim (b.1990)'s artworks. Acclaimed since his 2021 solo exhibition, Kim purposefully combines contrasting materials to depict the merging of digital and analog elements in today's world.



Sculpting Space: Transcending the Wall, Inhabiting Dimensions


Frieze Seoul: Adrián Villar Rojas (b. 1980, kurimanzutto, B11) > Yun Suknam (b.1939, Hakgojae Gallery, M5) > Khmer Head of a Deity (Axel Vervoordt, M20) > Jaume Plensa (b. 1955, Galerie Lelong, C20)

Kiaf: Erica Mao (b. 1994, Rachel Uffner Gallery, A84) > Yeesookyung (b. 1963, The Page Gallery, B57) (also MASSIMO DE CARLO (B8) at Frieze Seoul) 



Adrián Villar Rojas
Untitled 17, from The End of Imagination series, 2023
Courtesy of kurimanzutto, Mexico City


Fatigued from perusing artworks against plain white walls? Why not immerse yourself in the thrill of sculptures that break free from these confines for an engaging three-dimensional experience. kurimanzutto showcases a sculpture by Argentine artist Adrián Villar Rojas (b.1980) at Frieze Seoul. This work is part of the artist’s The End of Imagination series, which has graced esteemed institutional platforms, harmonizing raw materiality with striking volume as a contemplation on spatiality and the timelessness of art. At Frieze Masters, which features a range of historical artworks, the prominent local Hakgojae Gallery highlights first-generation Korean modern artists, including the renowned female sculptor Yun Suknam (b.1939). A sculpture displayed at the fair embodies a motherly image, symbolizing the enduring strength of Korean women throughout history.


Explore two captivating sculptures of the human form, each from a different era: the Khmer Head of a Deity at Axel Vervoordt Gallery, with locations in Wijnegem and Hong Kong, and a sculpture by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa (b. 1955) at Galerie Lelong & Co. The Khmer Head of a Deity, hailing from the Khmer Empire that spanned modern Southeast Asia between 800 and 1400, draws inspiration from Hindu or Buddhist deities. Meanwhile, Jaume Plensa (b.1955)'s art blends spirituality, the human form, and collective memory to encapsulate the fleeting nature of human existence.



(l) Khmer Head of a Deity from reign of Jayavarman VII, c. 1182-1215. Courtesy of Axel Vervoordt, Kanaal, Wijnegem and Hong Kong. Photo: Jan Liégeois
(r) Jaume Plensa, Hortensia, 2022. Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co., Paris and New York 

Rachel Uffner Gallery presents ceramics by talented young American artist Erica Mao (b. 1994). Her ceramics, reminiscent of houses, are accompanied by bold oil paintings with vigorous and fearless brushstrokes. While these ceramics symbolize shelters and homes, they also convey distress and insecurity. For a fresh encounter, visit The Page Gallery's booth at Kiaf and explore Yeesookyung (b.1963)'s sculpture, which vividly reflects the artist's enduring fascination with repurposing discarded vases to question the hierarchy between original and translation, success and failure.