Frieze Seoul’s Focus section tackles the thorny question: what is Asian art?
Staff, 2022-08-31 05:42:48,
What is the state of artmaking, especially in the wake of the uneven disruptions of protracted lockdowns and restricted borders, across Asia today? A counterpoint to the parade of international blue-chip galleries out in force for the inaugural edition of Frieze Seoul, Focus Asia offers 10 solo presentations from Asia-based galleries (aged 12 years or younger) and the chance to attend to such questions.
I am curious what Focus Asia, curated by Christopher Y Lew of LA non-profit Horizon and Hyejung Jang from Seoul’s Doosan gallery, might have to say about something as knotty as “Asia”. (The curator David Xu Borgonjon once quipped: “You can only be Asian outside of Asia.”) But Lew and Jang aren’t interested in framing Asia through any particular tendency. Their aim “was to show the wide range of artistic practices found on the continent and made by diasporic artists”, Lew says. “We want to demonstrate what it could mean to span geography — from Iran to Indonesia — as well as generations, media and artistic strategies.”
Several artworks enter the uncanny valley between simulation and reality. Seoul’s P21 is devoting its booth to Sungsil Ryu — born in 1993, the youngest of the artists in the section — whose garish films send up the excesses of Korean consumerism. The artist frequently adopts a series of disturbing alter egos, for instance, a squeaky-pitched YouTube influencer who spreads conspiracy theories about North Korea. In the video…
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