South Korea’s galleries plan sale to ‘warn’ auction houses against speculation and ‘extreme capitalist logic’

Judith Zeng

A team of Korean galleries will keep a are living sale later on this month as a “warning” to auction homes from driving speculation in the artwork current market and undermining the role of the principal sector.

The Galleries Affiliation of Korea, which organises Korea’s most important art honest KIAF and will spouse with Frieze for its new reasonable in Seoul this yr, launched an impassioned statement yesterday announcing that a “gentleman’s arrangement” created in 2007 concerning the association and the country’s two premier auction houses, K Auction and Seoul Auction, has been violated.

This arrangement, the assertion reads, was signed at a time when the Korean art market place was “promptly overheating”, and outlined a quantity of means to assure “healthy co-existence” amongst primary and secondary market players. It stipulates that neither auction property can maintain additional than 4 “key auctions” a 12 months, offer performs established inside of three yrs, or buy functions to later sell them. All of these guarantees have due to the fact been damaged: Korean auction homes now routinely get hold of artists immediately to consign new operates and maintain as quite a few as “80 income a 12 months”, the affiliation statements.

This is not the to start with warning KIAF has presented Korea’s auction homes. In August, it sent an official letter demanding K Auction and Seoul Auction chorus from releasing “provocative media experiences”, and to cease “excessively regular” product sales and immediate offers with artists.

The 120-good deal auction, held on 26 January, is the association’s “final vacation resort” and will acquire location at Westin Josun Seoul Hotel in Seoul. The sale will be done privately and all loads have been consigned by the association’s galleries. No buyer’s cost will be charged.

“We are not aiming to continue on with the auctions forever, but it is a message that we have to have to follow good manners as essential artwork sector players,” Hwang Dal-sung, chairman of the affiliation, states in a assertion.

Neither auction dwelling responded to The Artwork Newspaper‘s request for remark. However, a spokeperson from Seoul Auction explained to the Korean Herald: “We just tried to preserve up with the market place desire, with an expanding amount of people today wanting to order artworks. We are talking about our stance internally and will make our official opinions as quickly as possible”.

All eyes on Seoul

This warning shot will come at a time of booming action in the Korean artwork market, with Western galleries these kinds of as Thaddaeus Ropac and Pace setting up shop and growing in Seoul as its young collector foundation grows. But for Seoul’s homegrown galleries, this is as a lot a result in for issue as celebration, particularly for its youthful artists who are most susceptible to industry manipulation.

“Now is an crucial time to grow the foundation of the Korean artwork industry and to step forward into the world-wide artwork sector. But this involves apparent polices on the roles and features of domestic galleries,” the affiliation suggests. “For young artists to be evaluated numerically and traded through direct auctions without the need of likely by galleries, from a prolonged-time period viewpoint, undermines the basis of the industry.”

“Extreme and repeated cost fluctuations brought on by auction residences are resulting in destruction to artists who should be recognised for their inventive price as an alternative of getting matter to extreme capitalist logic.”

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