Short Review on Frieze Seoul 2022 

Frieze is one of the world’s most influential art fairs. As the global art market during the past years was mainly focused on Europe and the US, previous Frieze art fairs were held in the world’s most competitive cities, such as London, Paris, and New York. However, since the 2000s, global galleries, curators, and collectors have turned their attention to leading cultural centres in the Asia-Pacific region. While Hong Kong–which has previously been the regional hub of art markets in Asia–is traumatized by political turmoil and strict quarantine rules, Seoul in South Korea has emerged as a new creative cultural centre with the nation’s recent global success of the Netflix series “Squid Game” and the Oscar-winning film “Parasite”, in addition to the exponentially growing popularity of K-pop music. On top of the nation’s vast appreciation of culture, South Korea has also seen a rapid rise in the art-market in recent years.

Reflecting on these domestic and global trends, most recently, Frieze launched a new fair in Seoul from September 2nd to September 5th, 2022, featuring more than 110 of the most influential art galleries from around the world. Frieze Seoul opened at the COEX Mall, Asia’s largest underground shopping mall located in the affluent district of Gangnam in Seoul. The fair consists of the three sections: Main (contemporary art), Frieze Masters (modern art and antiquity), and Focus Asia.

Generally, there were not many installation arts or digital/new media arts, which might have been challenging to sell due to the size/format of artwork and weak sense of rarity (or exclusivity), respectively. 

The following images are the photos of some interesting pieces of artwork that show a rising trend as well as long-standing themes in the art market now. 

Multi-sensory installation

Haegue Yang, “Sonic Rotating Whatever Running on Hemisphere #19”, Powder-coated stainless-steel frame, powder-coated mesh, ball bearing, stainless steel bells, split rings, water taps. Photo by Jeongwon Gim (2022)

Socially engaged art

Tavares Strachan, “United States of Africa”, Photo by Jeongwon Gim (2022).

Blending traditional painting techniques

Atsushi Kaga, “Goodbye Chami-Chan (brown ears)”, Acrylic and imitation gold leaf on canvas 150×120 cm, Photo by Jeongwon Gim (2022).

Hyper realism and a sense of immersion

Questioning conventions

Tom Sachs, “Prada Double Cheeseburger”, Photo by Jeongwon Gim (2022).

Optical illusions

The experience of pandemic & masks

Art × Brand collaboration at Frieze Seoul 2022

An advertisement for the web novel “Under the Oak Tree” by Suji Kim installed inside the COEX building. Photo by Jeongwon Gim (2022).
The global art fair Frieze and Breguet announced a partnership, featuring special artwork by Pablo Bronstein. Photo by Kyunghee Yoon (2022), The JoongAng.
LG Electronics (LG) collaborated with Anish Kapoor1 to showcase the artist’s media artwork on LG SIGNATURE OLED R. Photo by Jeongwon Gim (2022).

Jeongwon Gim (University of Alberta)