Suh Do-ho doubles estimate

The Christie’s sales of Korean artworks – and photography in particular – which took place on 1 July had mixed results.

While the more expensive pieces made their estimates – and in the case of Suh Do-ho’s Some / One the hammer price came in at twice the estimate – some of the more entry-level works failed to sell. Interestingly, the Koh Sang-woo work failed to generate interest, despite similar works flying out of the gallery in Islington at the Ideal Worlds exhibition.

Here are the full sale details.

KIM IN-SOOK (b.1969)

Saturday Night, 2007
oversized chromogenic print
signed and dated in ink on printed label with credit, title, date and edition ‘AP’ on backing board
80 x 120in. (203 x 306cm.) overall

Exhibited
Seoul, Seoul International Photography Festival, 13 December 2008 — 15 January 2009.

Lot Notes
In her monumental work Saturday Night, painstakingly produced over a three-year period, Kim examines the human condition of solitude and sexuality. She invites us to peep into the 66 hotel rooms in which the inhabitants act out scenes based on actual hotel-room incidents covered in the media. Kim left South Korea at the age of 31 to study Photography at the internationally renowned Kunstakademie Düsseldorf and honed her skills as a conceptual artist under Thomas Ruff. She continues to live and work in Düsseldorf.

AP aside from the sold-out edition of 10

Estimate: £25-35,000
Realised: £32,450

MIN BYUNG-HUN (b.1955)

SL154, 2006
gelatin silver print
signed, titled, dated and numbered ‘3/3′ in ink on label, printed label with credit, title and date on backing board
47¼ x 54½in. (120 x 138cm.) overall

Lot Notes

The forest is the central theme in Min’s meditative photographs. In this snowy landscape from his Snow Land series, Min deconstructs the scenery into black and white lines. Filling the full frame with these entangled lines, he achieves a lyrical pattern. His landscapes share similar sensibilities to those of traditional Korean ink paintings. Min’s works have been shown internationally, including FotoFest 2000 in Houston and the forthcoming exhibition Chaotic Harmony: Contemporary Korean Photography at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston/Santa Barbara Museum of Art (fig.1) and are held in various collections, including the MFAH, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Estimate: £7-9,000
Realised: Did not sell

BAE BIEN-U (b.1950)

snm1a-047h from ‘Sonamu’ [Pine Trees], 2000
oversized chromogenic print signed in Korean & English in ink on prined label with credit, title, date and edition ‘AP1′ on backing board
52 x 102in. (133 x 260cm.) overall

Lot Notes

A pine grove is a familiar landscape in South Korea and is the central theme in Bae’s Sonamu series. In these panoramic images of pine trees, Bae captures the essence of Korean identity and spirit. His works have been shown internationally, including FotoFest 2000 in Houston, and are held in institutional and private collections, including the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea, The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, the LeWitt Collection, Chester, CT, and the Sir Elton John Collection, Atlanta/London.

AP1 aside from the sold-out edition of 5.

Estimate: £20-30,000
Realised: £30,000

KIM JONGKU (b.1963)

Poongkyoung [Landscape], 2007
2 chromogenic prints
each signed, titled and numbered ‘AP’ in pencil on recto; each signed in ink on printed label with credit, title, date and edition ‘AP’ on backing board
each 36 x 50in. (92 x 126cm.) overall (2)

Lot Notes

In his Poongkyoung series, multi-media artist Kim uses steel powder culled from grinding steel rods to write calligraphy on the ground then photographs it at ground level to create horizontal landscapes. This process represents the transition from modernity to tradition, the material world to the natural world and the vertical to the horizontal. His works have been shown internationally and are held in various collections, including the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea.

Each AP1 aside from the sold-out edition of 5.

Estimate: £4-6,000
Realised: Did not sell

JUNG YEONDOO (b.1969)

Location #9, 2006
oversized chromogenic print
signed in Korean in ink on printed label with credit, title, date and edition ‘5/5′ on backing board
50 x 60in. (125 x 155cm.) overall

Lot Notes

Named ‘Artist of the Year’ in 2007 by the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea, Jung turns to set-building techniques of old Hollywood soundstages for his Location series. His works have been shown internationally, including Fast Forward: Photographic Message from Korea at Fotografie Forum International, Frankfurt (2005); Modern Mondays at The Museum of Modern Art, New York (2008), and the forthcoming exhibition Chaotic Harmony: Contemporary Korean Photography at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston/Santa Barbara Museum of Art (fig.1). His works are held in institutional, corporate and private collections, including MoMA, New York, and National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea.

Estimate: £6-8,000
Realised: £5,000

LEE MYOUNGHO (b.1975)

Tree #1, 2006
digital inkjet print
signed in Korean in ink on printed label with credit, title, date and edition ‘3/3′ on backing board
51 x 43½in. (130 x 110cm.) overall

Lot Notes

For Lee, the process of photographing his Tree series was a performance art in itself. He challenges us to see an ordinary tree in a new way by presenting it against a giant white canvas backdrop. While the concept is simple, the execution is complex. In addition to planning and construction, two cranes are required to erect the backdrop, which isolates the tree from its environment. Lee is currently working towards his Ph.D. in Photography at Chung-Ang University, Seoul and his works have been exhibited in Asia and the US.

Number 3 from the sold-out edition of 3.

Estimate: £5-7,000
Realised: £6,250

BACK SEUNG-WOO (b.1973)

Real World I #01, 2004
oversized chromogenic print
signed in ink on printed label with credit, title, date and edition ‘5/5′ on backing board
51 x 67½in. (130 x 172cm.) overall

Lot Notes

Back invites us to a world of confusion in his series Real World, taken at Aiins World, a South Korean theme park which features scaled-down replicas of world famous sites. In this disorienting image, we see Korean turtle ships floating on the waters around Manhattan with the Twin Towers, the Chrysler Building and the Brooklyn Bridge against a real background of apartment blocks. His works have been shown internationally, including Fast Forward: Photographic Message from Korea at Fotografie Forum International, Frankfurt (2005), and the forthcoming exhibition Chaotic Harmony: Contemporary Korean Photography at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston/Santa Barbara Museum of Art (fig.1).

Number 5 from the sold-out edition of 5.

Estimate: £10-15,000
Realised: £8,750

DEBBIE HAN (b.1969)

Two Graces I, 2007
chromogenic print
signed in ink on recto; signed and numbered ‘AP1/2′ in ink on label, printed label with credit, title, date and edition ‘AP1/2′ on backing board
47¼ x 55in. (120 x 140cm.) overall

Lot Notes

Of her Graces series, Korean-American Han states: ‘The hybridization of the body of a specific Asian female with a western classical head challenges our familiar notions and stereotypes regarding beauty. Each “Grace” is captured in the midst of an everyday act, as opposed to an idealized pose of a classical sculpture.’ (Hybrid Graces, p.41) Her works have been shown internationally and are held in various collections, including the Institut Valencià d’Art Modern, Valencia. She currently lives and works in Seoul.

AP1 aside from the sold-out edition of 7.

Estimate: £7-9,000
Realised: £7,500

KOO BOHNCHANG (b.1953)

In the Beginning #41, 1995
multiple gelatin silver prints sewn together with cotton thread, printed/assembled 2009
signed, dated and numbered ‘AP1′ in white pencil on recto
67½ x 50in. (172 x 125cm.) overall

Lot Notes

Koo, one of Korea’s most influential photographers, captures a female nude in fetal position for his series In the Beginning. In the darkroom, he stitches together a number of overlapping photographic papers then exposes them — with pieces of dangling thread — to create a single oversized print. The concept of stitching the flesh is a metaphor for life’s struggles and the use of thread symbolises the fragility of human ties. While this image was realised in an edition of six, each work is unique due to the process of sewing the prints.

His works have been shown internationally since the 1980s, including his first US retrospective at the Peabody Essex Museum (2002) and the forthcoming exhibition on contemporary Korean photography at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston/Santa Barbara Museum of Art (fig.1), and are held in such notable collections as the MFAH and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. He has curated a number of pioneering exhibitions, notably The New Wave of Photography in Seoul (1988) and Contemporary Korean Photographers: A New Generation at FotoFest 2000 in Houston, the first major show of Korean photography in the US.

AP1 aside from the sold-out edition of 6.

Estimate: £10-15,000
Realised: Did not sell

LEE SANGHYUN (b.1954)

Peach Blossom Paradise and Streaming Water from ‘Nine Clouds Dream’, 2007
oversized chromogenic print
signed, titled, dated and numbered ‘2/5′ in Korean & English in stylus, printed label with credit, title, date and edition ‘2/5′ on backing board
43¼ x 86½in. (110 x 220cm.) overall

Lot Notes

Paradise is the theme of Lee’s series Nine Clouds Dream, based on Kim Manjung’s 17th century tale of a young man who marries eight beautiful maidens and achieves wealth and status only to wake up from a drunken stupor to discover that his life was a dream. In this composite photograph, the classical novel is turned into a computer game and the central character is the Dragon Princess, one of the eight wives, who stands on a golden fish — a symbol for the Taoist concept of eternal life.

Number 2 from the sold-out edition of 5.

Estimate: £3-5,000
Realised: £3,750

KOH SANGWOO (b.1978)

The Kiss, 2008
oversized digital inkjet print
signed, dated and numbered ‘3/3′ in ink, printed label with credit, title, date and edition ‘3/3′ on backing board
69 x 48in. (175 x 122cm.) overall

Lot Notes

New York-based Koh stumbled upon his preferred technique, which yields his enigmatic portraits, as a 20-year-old art student when he created a negative image by mistake and was intrigued by its reversed colours and ghostly effect. To create The Kiss, Koh painted the bodies of his models using colours selected for their reversed effects. This work has received considerable media coverage in South Korea as it features a popular TV announcer and her husband. Koh studied Photography at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and his works have been shown in Asia and the US.

Number 3 from the sold-out edition of 3.

Estimate: £3-4,000
Realised: Did not sell

BAE CHAN-HYO (b.1975)

Existing in Costume 1, 2006
chromogenic print
signed in ink on printed authentication certificate with credit, title, date and edition ‘AP1′, printed label with credit, title, date and edition ‘AP1′ on backing board.
42 x 33in. (106.5 x 83.8cm.) overall

Lot Notes

Living and working in London since 2004, Bae portrays himself as a British queen in Existing in Costume 1. Of this series, he comments: ‘I try to become British just as a child pretends to be a mother by dressing in her clothes. Although the mother’s clothes are unsuitable for the child, the child still tries to dress as its mother, trying to express its existence as another person.’ (Artist statement, 2009) Another print of Existing in Costume 1 will be featured in the forthcoming exhibition Chaotic Harmony: Contemporary Korean Photography at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston/Santa Barbara Museum of Art (fig.1). Bae’s works are held in various collections, including the MFAH.

AP1 aside from the sold-out edition of 5.

Estimate: £2-3,000
Realised: £2,000

KIM JOON (b.1966)

Duet-Dog, 2006
chromogenic print
signed, titled and numbered ‘5/5′ in ink on printed credit label on backing board
55 x 39in. (140 x 100cm.)

Lot Notes

For Kim, tattoo is a metaphor for hidden desires and the body is his canvas. To create his Duet series, Kim takes photographs of nude female and male bodies then paints his ’social tattoos’ on them using digital technology. His works have been shown internationally and are held in various collections, including the Seoul Museum of Art and The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. He lives and works in Seoul.

Number 5 from the sold-out edition of 5.

Estimate: £4-6,000
Realised: £4,375

LEE JUNG (b.1972)

Bordering North Korea #7, 2006
chromogenic print
signed in ink on printed label with credit, title, date and edition ‘3/5′ on backing board
41 x 51in. (105 x 130cm.) overall

Lot Notes

Jung explores the mythologisation of North Korea in her image-text series Bordering North Korea. Misty landscapes of North Korea photographed from the border are juxtaposed with propagandistic slogans. The resulting tension between the image and the text alludes to the discrepancy between North Korea’s perception of itself and the West’s perception of North Korea. A work from her Bordering North Korea series will be featured in the forthcoming exhibition Chaotic Harmony: Contemporary Korean Photography at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston/Santa Barbara Museum of Art (fig.1). Jung earned an MA in Photography from the Royal College of Art in 2005 and currently lives and works in Seoul.

Number 3 from the sold-out edition of 5.

Estimate: £2-3,000
Realised: Did not sell

KIM SOOKANG (b.1970)

Bojagi 001 & 011, 2004
2 gum bichromate prints
each signed, dated and numbered ‘AP’ in pencil in margin
each 31½ x 24½in. (80 x 62cm.) overall (2)

Lot Notes

Inspired by objects in her daily life, Kim turns her camera to bojagi, traditional Korean wrapping cloths. She uses the arduous 19th century photographic process of gum printing to create painterly images of bojagi parcels. Due to the multi-layered nature of the process, a single print can take over three days to produce. A work from her Bojagi series will be featured in the forthcoming exhibition Chaotic Harmony: Contemporary Korean Photography at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston/Santa Barbara Museum of Art (fig.1). Kim’s prints are held in various collections, including the MFAH and Museet for Fotokunst, Denmark.

Each AP aside from the sold-out edition of 5.

Estimate: £4-6,000
Realised: Did not sell

NOH SUNTAG (b.1971)

Red-House #I-013, 2005
chromogenic print
signed, titled, dated and numbered ‘5/5′ in ink on printed label on backing board
31½ x 47in. (80 x 120cm.) overall

Lot Notes

Noh photographed the Arirang Festival in Pyongyang, North Korea for a magazine assignment in 2005. The Festival, famed for its mass games, is orchestrated once a year at the May Day Stadium to celebrate the late Communist leader Kim Il-Sung’s birthday and is accessible to western media. This photograph of a sea of dancers performing a synchronised dance alludes to the relationship between the individual and the masses within North Korean society. Noh’s works have been shown internationally, including a 2008 solo exhibition at Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart and are held in a number of collections, including the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea.

Number 5 from the sold-out edition of 5.

Estimate: £6-8,000
Realised: Did not sell

YUM JOONGHO (b.1965)

The Four Cornered Ring, 2006
chromogenic print
signed in ink on printed label with credit, title, date and edition ‘3/3′ on backing board
52 x 52in. (132 x 132cm.) overall

Lot Notes

While Yum’s photographs are taken in diverse locations ranging from Korea to France, the specifics surrounding the taking of the image are inconsequential to Yum as he intentionally approaches his subjects from the viewpoint of a detached outsider. As seen in this image of an outdoor boxing match, he photographs from a distance to underscore his detached attitude and creates a fragmented composition to give us the impression of a spontaneous shot. Yum earned an MFA from the University of Paris VIII and his works have been shown in Asia and Europe. He currently lives and works in Seoul.

Number 3 from the sold-out edition of 3.

Estimate: £3-4,000
Realised: Did not sell

Do-Ho Suh (b. 1962)

Some/One
stainless steel military dog tags, stainless steel structure, fiberglass resin and mirrored stainless steel sheets
75 x 117 x 135in. (192.4 x 297.8 x 344.8cm.)
Executed in 2004, this work is number one from an edition of three

Provenance: Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York.
Exhibited: Venice, 49th Venice Biennale, Republic of Korea Pavillion, June-November 2001.

Estimate: £200,000-£300,000
Realised: £493,250

Christo (b. 1935)

Wrapped Statues (Project for ‘Der Glypotek-München’, West Germany) Aegina Temple, from ‘Games of the XXIVth Olympiad Seoul 1988′ (Schellmann 135)
screenprint in colours with photo collage, 1988, on wove paper, signed in pencil, numbered 212/300 (there were also 30 artist’s proofs), published by the Olympic Games Committee, Seoul, South Korea, the full sheet, in very good condition
L., S. 895 x 695 mm.

Estimate: £500-700
Realised: £750

Nam June Paik (1932-2006)

Paik Nam JuneTV-Dog
offset lithograph with screenprint in colours, 1994, on smooth wove paper, signed in black crayon, numbered 40/60, the full sheet, a short tear to the lower sheet edge, one minor nick to the left sheet edge, otherwise generally in good condition
L., S. 552 x 808 mm.

Estimate:£500-£700
Realised: £500

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