Pan & Weil Gallery’s exhibit at the 2009 AHAF Seoul / Courtesy of AHAF
By Ines Min
The second Asia Top Gallery Hotel Art Fair in Seoul will kick off its three-day event at the Shilla Hotel, Friday.
The fair, which follows the concept that has recently been sweeping the world over with its quirky location, utilizes guest rooms in order to display artwork that at a typical art market, would have been shown in a white booth.
Sixty-nine galleries from China, Japan, Taiwan, Korea and other countries will participate to take over three floors with exhibitions in the hotel rooms, including names such as Art Seasons, Scai the Bathhouse and Tomio Koyama Gallery.
More than the location ― last year’s event was held at the Grand Hyatt Seoul ― the quality of work is the focus this year, according to organizers.
``The level of the artwork has been upgraded with the quality of the galleries,’’ they said, referring to the well-known artists to be featured, including Lee U-fan and Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Controlling the number of people inside is another concern this year, after small exhibition ``halls’’ drew grumbles at the 2009 showcase.
``Because it can be unpleasant if visitors get cornered all at once by the spacing limits of the hotel guest rooms and corridors, we will pay a lot of attention to timing the number of entrants,’’ organizers said.
``Hotel art fairs are different from general white-cube exhibitions because, whereas they are able to live within the characteristics of a particular space, there are a lot of spatial restrictions on these exhibitions.’’
Not that any limitations are getting in the way of the programming. This year, an expanded schedule of special events is being prepared.
``AHAF Seoul Young Artists 10’’ spotlights emerging youths from the Asian countries, and ``Project Nosotros: Shim in the Cube’’ is a collaboration between entertainer Shim Eun-jin (former leader of Baby V.O.X.), photographer Mingky Zio and music video director Huh Nam-hoon.
``Sculpture Vision 2’’ will showcase works by Kim Jung-hee, Shin Dal-ho and Lee Sang-gill, while ``Adventurers of Images,’’ led by art critic Sanda Haruo, examines two movements of art within Japan: the emergence of veteran artists during the 1960s during the Cold War and the artists who featured calm and figurative art during the ‘90s. Featured artists include Kasama Yayoi, Morimura Yasamasa and Yoshotomo Nara.
The unique setting provides opportunities unavailable at larger fairs, including sculptures set inside bathrooms and atop beds. Nails are, understandably, prohibited.
``The whole point is to show an example of how a work can be displayed in a real home instead of just a gallery setting,’’ said Park Jee-sun, assistant director at the participating Kukje Gallery. ``I think it reaches a younger family kind of crowd.’’
``It has its own niche,’’ she added. ``It’s really good for younger galleries because it’s easier to participate...and less intimidating than to show in a very big booth.’’
Shilla Hotel is located outside exit 5 of Dongguk Station on subway line 3. The fair opens Friday at 4 p.m. For more information, visit www.hotelartfair.kr.