Korean Contemporary Art Expert Miki Wick-Kim on Her Highlights from KIAF 2015

Artsy Editorial
Oct 2, 2015 10:05PM

Few in the art world know the Korean contemporary art landscape quite like Miki Wick-Kim. Since 2006, she has served as the Director of Miki Wick Kim Contemporary Art, a Zurich gallery turned art advisory service that set itself apart by specializing in Korean contemporary art. There, Wick-Kim produced exhibitions with a number of artists featured in KIAF 2015, South Korea’s leading art fair, including Kiwon Park and YOO Seungho. Wick-Kim’s 2012 book Korean Contemporary Art, which serves as one of the few surveys on the subject, provides an in-depth look at thirty Korean artists in an aim to expose them to an international audience.

Given Wick-Kim’s knowledge of the Korean art scene, Artsy asked her to comb through our preview of KIAF 2015 and pick out the works and artists to keep an eye on.

Choi Jeong Hwa, Present of the Century - Gold (2013), Park Ryu Sook Gallery

Present of the Century - Gold, 2013
Park Ryu Sook Gallery

Choi finds his ready-mades and plastics from the abundant markets and shops that fill the streets of Seoul, often imbuing his works with a distinctly local flavor. I have fun with his kitsch, loud, and mass-produced installations that are both a celebration of and a reflection on Korean consumer and social life.

Chung Heeseung, Untitled (2013), PKM Gallery

Untitled, 2013
PKM Gallery

I am drawn to the quiet yet straightforward presentation of this broken and mundane object in Chung’s photograph. With her reductionist approach and tighter cropping, the artist deprives the viewer of visual information and we are left pondering the work’s contextual ambiguity.

Lee Ufan, From a Line (1979), Moin Gallery

Although I have not seen this work directly, Lee is one of Korea’s most distinguished artists from the Korean modernism movement. This 1979 painting  is from a period in which Lee painted his systematic and repetitive From Point and From Line series, exploring the concept of infinity. These series developed to the more gestural forms seen in the 1980s with his With Winds and From Winds works.

On her website, Song refers to her diasporic personal history as being “dis-placed and re-placed… I have had conflicted desires for as long as I can remember.” The artist’s abstract compositions are a kaleidoscopic convergence of opposing notions and identities.

U-Ram Choe, Gold Cakra Lamp (2013), Gallery Hyundai

Gold Cakra Lamp, 2013
Gallery Hyundai

Choe’s intricately crafted and poised sculptures link ideas from nature, robotics, and science fiction. The artist embraces the immeasurable potential of technical and electronic innovation in a country considered one of the world’s most digitally competent.

Park Seo-Bo, Ecriture No.970430 (1997), Wellside Gallery

Park is hailed as a leader of the Korean Monochrome art movement that emerged in the 1970s. For him, painting is a conceptual practice where the repetitive actions of his process enable a meditative state of “emptying” himself. Eastern religion and philosophy and its considerations on nature are central to Park's practice. 

Artsy Editorial