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10 Artists Who Are Defining The Korean Art Market
Get inspired 11 Mar 2022

10 Artists Who Are Defining The Korean Art Market

minjung kim the memory of process korean artist
Minjung Kim, The Memory of Process, 2018. Credits: White Cube Gallery

Since 2014, the Korean art market has been in constant growth. International galleries are quick to relocate to Seoul. The biggest art fairs such as Frieze are now traveling to the South Korean capital. The popularity of Seoul on the art market is mostly due to the Millenials, who are increasingly interested in Korean culture. Artsper introduces you to this expanding art market, with these 10 artists who define it. 

1. Lee Ufan

lee ufan dialogue korean artist
Lee Ufan, Dialogue, 2015. Credits: Art Basel                 

It’s difficult to ignore the contribution of Lee Ufan to the boom of Korean art. Although he is part of the older generation of Korean artists, Lee Ufan remains one of the biggest names of the Korean art market. In installation, sculptures, as in painting, Lee Ufan explores different theories and philosophies. He is mostly interested in the spatial and temporal conditions of his work.                                                                                                                                   

2. Suki Seokyeong Kang

suki seokyeong korean artist
Suki Seokyeong in her studio. Credit: Tina Kim Gallery

Born in 1977, this Korean artist is one of the biggest names of the art market. Her work is mostly inspired by her own philosophical research and reflection on space and our place in it. She uses sculpture, installation, and performance to explore these ideas. Her works were presented, among others, in the Venice and Shanghai Biennales.

3. Park Seo-Bo

park seo-bo ecriture korean artist
Park Seo-Bo, Ecriture, 1988. Available on Artsper

At 90 years old, Park Seo-Bo is still one of the most sold Korean artists, and one of the most popular in the world. Considered one of the precursors of modern art in Korea, he managed to introduce abstraction at a hostile and conservative time. He is one of the founding members of the Dansaekhwa movement, which gathers Korean traditional principles, and innovative abstraction. 

4. Lee Bul

lee bul civitas solis korean artist
Lee Bul, Civitas Solis II, 2014. Credits: The Guardian

Born in 1964, Lee Bul addresses feminist themes such as the patriarchy and the marginalization of women through sculptures and installations. She attempts to highlight the underlying ideologies of our society and to make us question them. She presented her work at the MoMA and was honored at the Venice Biennale in 1999.

5. Minjung Kim 

minjung kim crête korean artist
Minjung Kim, Crête, 2010

The work of the Korean Minjung Kim instantly appeases; she describes her canvases as her “states of mind”. This may be the reason why the artist managed to conquer the public and the international biennales. Her use of ink makes her works a symbolic homage to ancient Asian art practices.

6. Haegue Yang

haegue yang emergence korean artist
Haegue Yang, Haegue Yang: Emergence, 2020–2021, exhibition view, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto. Credits: Frieze

Born in 1971, Haegue Yang is innovative in the way in which she addresses the themes she cares about: migration, social mobility, or even forced exile. Her objective is to show that conceptual art can be a way to talk about these political and philosophical topics.

7. Chong-Hyun Ha

chong-hyun ha conjunction korean artist
Chong-Hyun Ha, Conjunction 08-103, 2008 Credits: ArtBasel

Just like Park Seo-Bo, Chong-Hyun Ha is a major figure of the Dansaekhwa movement, the monochrome movement. On top of being a regular at the world’s biennales, some of his works reached record prices at Christie’s. Chong-Hyun Ha works with textures, reliefs on the canvas, which make each of his works unique. His innovative technique makes him, still today, one of the most impactful Korean artists on the art market. 

8. Anicka Yi

anicka yi korean artist
Anicka Yi, Maybe She’s Born With It, 2015 Credits: New York Times

The art of Anicka Yi transports in an intriguing and grotesque universe. Between philosophy and biochemistry, Anicka Yi creates with unusual materials. She is known for using scents in her works. Her sculptures, installations, and paintings are full-fledged experiences, which address socio-political themes, through unconventional means. The controversial originality of Anicka Yi makes her one of the most exhibited Korean artists.

9. Lee Kun-Yong

lee kun-yong performance korean artist
Lee Kun-Yong en performance. Credits: Leeahn Gallery

The painter, sculptor and videographer Lee Kun-Yong surprises and captivates on all fronts. While his finished products are gems on the art market, it’s the creative process that interests him instead. Considered the precursor of performative art and avant-garde in Korea, Lee Kun-Yong is definitely a major figure in the Korean art market.

10. Suh Do-Ho

suh do-ho passages korean artist
 Suh Do-Ho, Passage/s, 2016. March 2017 Feature. Credits: Art Review 

Born in Seoul in 1962, Suh Do-Ho mostly works in sculpture and installation. His impressive journey caused him to be exhibited at the MoMA, at the Whitney Museum in New York, and at the Tate Gallery in London. In his work, he is interested in space from a philosophical and psychological standpoint.In all, the Korean art market is shared between the more ancient generation of monochrome artists and the young avant-gardistes.

In any case, the art market in Korea is climbing to the same level as the international markets. If you’d like to know more, you can read about 10 Korean artists you must know on Artsper.

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Founded in 2013, Artsper is an online marketplace for contemporary art. Partnering with 1,800 professional art galleries around the world, it makes discovering and acquiring art accessible to all.

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