Perrotin will open a second space in Seoul ahead of Frieze’s debut as the Western art market clamors for a foothold in South Korea

Perrotin will continue to expand its presence in Seoul with a second space, adding to the art world fever surrounding the South Korean capital and optimism about the Asian country’s market ahead of September’s inaugural Frieze Seoul and its enduring Kiaf Seoul fair.

The new 2,700-square-foot space in upscale Gangnam is expected to open in September, coinciding with the openings of Frieze Seoul, Kiaf Seoul and their new satellite show, Kiaf Plus. Perrotin’s space opens with a solo exhibition of new oil-on-canvas paintings by emerging Los Angeles-based artist Emma Webster.

The new space is the second Seoul outpost of the global chain of galleries founded in Paris in 1990 by French dealer Emmanuel Perrotin. Perrotin, who also attends Frieze Seoul, opened his first space in the Korean capital in 2016 in the Jongno district and was an early riser in this new chapter of the Asian art market, seeing Western galleries flock to the new art hub. Perrotin was also an early part of this East trend, opening an office in Hong Kong in 2012, followed by an outpost in Shanghai in 2018.

Rendering of Perrotin Dosan Park. Courtesy of KIAS (Kentaro Ishida Architects Studio), Yoki Design and Perrotin.

Optimism about the strong local market in South Korea and the increasing visibility and purchasing power of Korean collectors have made the capital a major draw for the international art world, including galleries from across Asia. The market in traditional arts hub Hong Kong, still under Covid restrictions after Beijing’s zero-Covid policy, has been limited as the metropolis faces political and economic uncertainties in the post-national security law era.

“Seoul is definitely the most dynamic and exciting market right now,” Alice Lung, a Seoul-based partner at Perrotin, told Artnet News. She added that the boom in South Korea’s art market also coincides with the rise of the country’s other cultural and creative industries such as cinema, TV series and K-pop.

The biggest changes we’re seeing over the years are the demographics of collectors and the number of people who collect art,” she said. “People used to focus a lot on them dansaekhwa movement of artists, but now there is an explosion of young emerging artists from all facets of life in Korea, and the new buyers are very optimistic about buying these new emerging talents.”

Many of these new collectors hail from second-generation families of art collectors, as well as IT professionals, celebrities and entrepreneurs, noted Lung, a veteran of the Asian art world. They buy a variety of artwork from local and international artists, including blue-chip names and emerging talent. “Art collecting is really becoming a national movement,” she said.

Perrotin’s announcement coincides with expansion plans by other Western-based retailers, including Pace, which started operations in Seoul in 2017 and will now expand its art complex in the Le Beige Building in the Hannam-dong district after the gallery first moved into the building in the Year 2021. The expanded arts complex will include an outdoor sculpture courtyard and teahouse and will be inaugurated during the week of Frieze Seoul with solo exhibitions by Adrian Ghenie and teamLab.

Lehmann Maupin, meanwhile, opened a new 2,600-square-foot space in Hannam-dong in March with the Korean debut of Los Angeles-based artist Lari Pittman. Other western galleries to open in Seoul in recent years include Thaddaeus Ropac, König, Peres Projects and Gladstone Gallery.

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