This year LKL avoided the crowded opening evening of the London Art Fair, opting for a quieter evening later in the week. It’s something we’ll do in future. There still seem to be waiters wandering round offering free drinks, but with fewer punters around you can actually move between the galleries you want to see without having to circumnavigate the people who only seem to be there to schmooze, giving you more time to look at the art. So here are LKL’s pick of this year’s fair.
There were two new galleries we were keen to see, and it was also good to see some long-standing participants who never fail to give pleasure. The first stall you come to on entering – a spot they have occupied for the last couple of years – is Union Gallery / Choi and Lager. As in previous years, they brought along some Yu Jinyoung, a sculptor whose work appears more heart-breaking every time you see it.
They also had a colourful oil by Kim Younghun, who most recently was exhibiting with HADA Contemporary. Shine Artists presented work by their regular stable of artists. It was a nice surprise to see a new work by Lee Jeongwoong, who hadn’t appeared in the list of artists to be shown at the fair. His oils which fuse elements from Joseon dynasty Korea with the aesthetics of Lawrence Alma-Tadema always make for enjoyable viewing.
At Able Fine Art, I was expecting Park Dae-cho’s arresting photographs to be garnering attention, but none were on show. Instead, the intriguing 3-D lenticular work by Hong Sungyong was creating considerable buzz. Impossible to reproduce in a normal jpg, this images had visitors endlessly fascinated as they tried to get different views of the galaxies which seemed to lie behind the surface of the work.
The more restrained creations of Lee Kwanwoo which formed images of Buddha using traditional Korean seals as pixels, were also generating interest, but Able would have been a hit with the punters just by bringing Hong Sungyong.
For Artlyst, Hanmi Gallery was one of the highlights, and in particular Kim Changkyum’s video work of reflections in a pond experiencing Korea’s four distinct seasons, projected into a stone basin. It certainly encouraged you to linger, as did Mioon’s video works of famous statues – such as Yi Sun-shin in Gwanghwamun, or of Kim Dae-jung in Muan, Jeollanamdo – which at first seemed still, but then moved imperceptibly as if they had been replaced by street performers.
It was good to see a work by Choi So-young – the first time one had been available for sale in the primary market in Europe – and at a price which was almost affordable. The paper works by Chun Kwang-young were beyond the budgets of many, but the more muted works by Chung Doo-hwa were appealing in their quiet way.
The works generating most interest were the photographs by sculptor Park Hyojin who takes objects which are often subject of still lives – a vase of flowers, reproduction of a statue of Michelangelo’s David – and covers them in thick drips of colourful paint, then photographs them, thus dictating to the viewer the precise angle from which the sculpture should be viewed.
Skipwiths also had a work by Kim Ha-young, who was such a hit for 43 Inverness Street last year, and Lah Sun’s wonderfully-observed figures depicting everyday characters you find in London streets. A well balanced collection, and we look forward to more from this gallery.
The next date for your diary: Art15 (21-13 May). Hanmi Gallery and Shine Artists will be exhibiting, and visiting from Korea will be Gallery SoSo and Gallery H.A.N.