Home Arts Peres Projects opens a second gallery in Seoul

Peres Projects opens a second gallery in Seoul

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Despite the current economic uncertainty in South Korea, its art market remains booming as Western galleries continue to open and expand in its capital. The Peres Projects shopping gallery, which was founded in Berlin, is the latest to do so, having now opened a second, larger space in Seoul. The four-story, 2,060-square-foot gallery is located in the Sagan-dong district, near the trendy Gwanghwamun area. Peres Projects opened its first space in Seoul last year, a small gallery in the basement of the luxurious Shilla Hotel.

“Gwanghwamun is one of Seoul’s most culturally active neighborhoods,” says Javier Peres, founder of Peres Projects. Filled with tourists wearing traditional Korean hanboks, the area is also home to Korea’s most important historical galleries, museums such as the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA Seoul), and historic sites such as the National Palace. The area attracts both local and foreign audiences, and its streets see heavy foot traffic,” he says, adding that this contrasts with Shilla’s “much more secluded and private” location.

The first floor gallery of the new gallery opened with a solo exhibition of works by Cece Philips, her first exhibition in Korea. Walk in between Sold out before opening, says Peres. A group exhibition fills the second floor, with the upper floors of the building being used for offices and reception areas.

Immediately after the opening of the new space, Peres Projects participated in Art Busan in early May, the first edition of the fair since the inaugural Frieze in Seoul. Held in the affluent seaside city, Art Busan is considered the second largest fair held in Korea, after Kiaf, and this year around 145 galleries participated. Joining the fair since 2019, Peres says, “Art Busan has played a central role in our activities in Korea. You could say that Busan is to Korea what Miami is to the United States: a coastal vacation destination and, therefore, a great meeting point. .”

At Art Busan, the gallery has featured artists such as Shuang Li, Bayrol Jiménez and Manuel Solano in Busan for “satisfactory” sales, said Kacey E. Cho, Asia managing director of Peres Projects. “We have been particularly impressed by the enthusiasm of Korean collectors for young artists,” she adds, with particular interest in Donna Huanca and Richard Kennedy, due to their simultaneous solo exhibitions in the country. The Kennedy Show Acey Deucey runs through June 4 at Jeonnam Museum of Art in Gwangyang and Huanca Solo Project swimming pool of happiness through June 8 at the non-profit Space K in Seoul.

“Although young collectors make up a large and growing part of South Korea’s collector base, Art Busan still attracts visitors from different segments of Korean society,” Peres said. Likewise, “our collector base in Korea is very broad in terms of age range.

On the Peres Projects list are a number of young artists with diverse racial, sexual and gender identities, such as the autodidact Philips whose paintings celebrate queer black life and the Kurdish-German immigrant Melike Kara. But some social issues remain taboo or controversial in South Korea. For example, the 2023 Seoul Queer Culture Festival this summer struggled to secure its regular venue, Seoul Plaza, in part due to opposition from right-wing Christian protesters.

“As a gallery, our mission has always been to promote compelling artists who bring new voices and increased perspectives on how to share new ideas”, which means “championing artists from diverse ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds , as well as many women artists,” says Pérès. Facilitating audience expansion and appreciation for their artists has led to relationships with local institutions like Space K, focusing on artists from traditionally marginalized groups. “Some of the artists we work with are very interested in exploring socio-economic and political themes, but that doesn’t mean we focus all of our activities on their priorities alone.”

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