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Korea: Overview of 2017 Auction Results


Korea: Overview of 2017 Auction Results
Kim Whan-ki, Hundred Thousands Dots, 1973

With 2017 almost entirely behind us it is time to look at the bigger picture of what happened in the art world these past 12 months. Art auction results are an important factor when it comes to identifying new trends among collectors and below is an overview of what and who sold best in Korea in the past year.

Kim Whanki, Untitled, 1970

'The father of Korean Modernism' Kim Whan-ki (1913-1974) continues to hold the top position as the most expensively selling Korean artist. His “dot paintings” executed mostly in blue tones and from New York treat traditional subjects such as the moon and the traditional jars and function as a reference to his nostalgia for the homeland.


Lee U-fan, Correspondence, 1993

Right behind him are the leaders of the Korea’s most internationally famous movement Dansekhwa (a.k.a Abstract Monochromes). Lee U-fan, Chung Sang-hwa and Park Seo-bo employ repetitive movement to create meditative works in the traditional for Korea earth and off-white colours. Artists from the so-called “second generation of Dansekhwa” such as Kim Tae-ho, Ahn Yong-yeol and Lee Bae though far behind the leaders also performed well.

Artwork by Kim Tae-ho

Artist Chun Kyung-ja (1924-2015) has garnered a remarkable attention in the past few years with her self-portraits and paintings of Africa, India and Europe. Widely recognised as the best selling female artist in Korea she travelled extensively and often alone to various not very safe places thus challenging the traditional role women had in society.

Chun Kyong-ja, Dancers in Thailand, 1987

A large number of young up-and-coming artists sold in the lower price segment. Artists such as Mari Kim, Lee Dong-ki, Kwon Ki-soo and Yeo Dong-heon continuously depict one particular character and their many faces, roles and interactions with society. Their parallel universes crafted in the styles of pop art and Japanese animation comprise the best selling segment among the youngest generation of artists.

Mari Kim, Snow White with Red Chanel Bag, 2016

Artwork by Lee Dong-ki

Artwork by Kwon Ki-soo

Artwork by Yeo Dong-heon

Auction statistics reveal stable interest in photographic works as well. Yu Hyon-mi’s mysterious interiors, Lee Yun-jin’s “peeks” into personal spaces, Lim Taek’s futuristic Eastern landscapes, Bae BienU’s pine trees and Baek Seung-woo’s archive projects enjoyed a much-deserved attention from collectors. Installation works by Paik Nam-jun and works of Japanese legend Yayoi Kusama continuously performed well throughout the year.

Artwork by Yu Hyun-mi

Artwork by Lee Yun-jin who explores spaces as a reflection of the personality of the owner.

Jong Bo-young explores spaces as a cross point between rays of light, the flow of the air and the temperature of the wind.

Artwork by Seung Woo-baek

Artwork by Bae BienU

Artwork by Seol Kyung-chul

Artist Noh Se-hwan looks for the variety in similarities as a reflection of personal taste.

Any views or opinions in the post are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.


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