East Contemporary

Art Busan 2024

Busan, May 9-12, 2024, https://artbusan.com

Art Busan art fair… what to say about it? Well, it is an art fair… The majority of galleries seemed to have travelled from the distant city of Seoul in the north of the country. This was complemented by galleries from closer distance, e.g. Daegu. At least that was my feeling. Plus a smaller number of galleries from abroad, Europe and U.S. Thus, I’d say it was a rather local fair. Also there was quite a lot of galleries selling living room and office decorations of convenient sizes, colors and motives, for a reasonable price. The most reasonably priced painting was one of a hamburger with the price tag of KRW 200,000 (approx. USD 150) – see below. Some exhibitors even resorted to the sale of Murakami flower plush toys and sticker sets. Of course that was the low end, which somehow coexisted with the high end Kukje and similar galleries presenting the stars of the last 50 years of Korean art at appropriate price levels. In terms of media, painting ruled and anything else was an outlier accounting for less than 10 percent of the total on display. I would also wish for a little bit more of accompanying programming, some talks, panels, etc. but I guess I am spoiled from my past experience at Hong Kong art fairs.

Here a few impressions that caught my eye:

Daniel Nunoz and Jackson Shim at Luv Contemporary Art:

Kim Myoungjin at Gaia Gallery:

Robert Barry at Gallery Shilla (Notice the wavy sticky tape used to seal the entrance to the booth, probably borrowed from the guys packing the sold paintings around the corner):

Kwon Hoon Chill at Gallery Doll (I appreciated the focus on one artist’s oeuvre, a very elegant presentation contrasting with a lot of the rest.):

Najib Bamadhaj … A Bengal tiger doing sightseeing around Busan tourist landmarks… I happened to be a tourist in Busan too, but… no thank you:

Hyunmin Cho at Pushtoenter. This was in the young gallery section (less than 2 years). These galleries had to show only one artist. I guess the spatial installation of the canvases in the foreground caught my attention:

This could be a show window display somewhere in Seoul Cheongdam. (Not sure who or what it was.)

Kim Taek-sang at Leeahn Gallery… A reminiscence of my visit to Daegu Art Museum last year. This seems to be an important local gallery there. Quite nice work.

Yoon-Hee (Leeahn Gallery) was another artist I encountered at Daegu Art Museum last year.

What to say about this…? Nice decoration for the children’s room? I guess Soyeon is the name of the artist? It was funny.

The Working With Friends booth was quite busy… Not sure if because of the installed large speakers at the end of the hidden red corridor, or because… it is popular? They showed a lot of different artists, all smaller size works… I guess these are all young artists? The vibe here was a bit different, less punch-you-in-the-eye decorative, bit more conceptual?

Choi Hye-jin at Gallery Dongwon. The most affordable artwork with a price tag. I guess this was a special offer for the last day of the public viewing? A hamburger bargain.

Josef Choi… looked like a happier version of Francis Bacon.

Yi Seula… City pop style. Very pleasant and accessible.

Tan Ping in the “Focus Asia: China” special section. Nice big signature and date, so that one knows right away where the top of the canvas is for hanging and what it is hanging on one’s wall.

Ma Shuqing in the “Focus Asia: China” special section. A kind of non-painting. Refreshing to see a non-canvas amongst the flood of canvases abound.

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