Asian Artists and Young Artists Art Festival 2020

I would like to introduce an annual art fair in Seoul, South Korea that is currently going on of which I am proud to be a part. Asian Artists and Young Artists Art Festival, ASYAAF is dedicated to showcasing emerging artists of Asian descent and the fair is focused on showing diversity and culture. It is organized by Chosun-Ilbo, one of the most influential media companies in Korea, and Seoul Design Foundation, established to promote Seoul’s design industry, with joint effort from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. This is their 12th year and the venue is at Hongik Museum of Art, and it is owned by one of the best art schools in Seoul. Accessible to everyone and able to collect art from young artists at an affordable price, ASYAAF is divided into two categories: Domestic and overseas artists. 485 Domestic artists and 50 overseas artists were exclusively invited and selected from East and Southeast Asian countries: Japan, Korea, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, India, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia.

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All images courtesy of ASYAAF and Gallery LVS & Crafts

My first impression of the art fair is that it is curated professionally. I can’t count how many art fairs I’ve gone to where it was a jumbled mess. Usually, there are too many artworks and artists on one wall. In the overseas section, a wall is dedicated to each artist with adequate space and breathing room in between artists. Viewers are able to pause after each artist and move on to the next. There are docents seated each corner and they are able to explain a little about the artists and their art to the visitors. The artworks chosen show diversity in style and culture. There are small works on paper to large works on canvas, 2D to 3D work, representational to abstract, etc. This diversification makes this fair exciting and I will guarantee you will spend a long time looking and analyzing each artwork.

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I interviewed Tk Suh, a curator for the overseas section this year for ASYAAF and Gallery LVS and CRAFT, of his experience curating the art fair.

What challenges did you face curating for this year’s festival?

In this year, the pandemic situation was a very big challenge to bring in overseas artists' works into South Korea. Shipping artworks is being blocked between certain countries, and even some of the student artists were not able to get into their schools to ship their works to our gallery.

How did you pick each artist for the show?

Since this exhibition includes more than 600 artists including local and overseas artists, I considered a lot to invite the artists who can show their diversity and culture through their artworks.

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What did you have in mind when you curated the overseas section? Were there any guidelines you followed when placing each work next to each other? Such as common themes, color, size?

Themes, color, size, and nationality all mattered for placing each work in the exhibition space. I tried not to place artists who are from the same countries in order to show how similar themes or styles can be expressed or interpreted in different manners. Also, I tried to gather different media artworks such as painting, drawing, ceramic, sculpture, photo, and prints so that the exhibition can show the flamboyant explorations of Asian artists!

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Could you tell me the different types of works that were coming in throughout the years? Did you see any specific trends taking place each year?

As I am curating this exhibition, one of the most groundbreaking things for me to look at was the diversity that each artist is making and thinking. I can feel that artists in the same countries are sharing some sense of trend, which can be style, theme, or technique, but between the countries and individually, they are very different to each other.

Are there any relevant events that accompany the exhibitions such as panel discussions or guest talks?

Unfortunately, panel discussion and guest talks were being canceled because of the Coronavirus. However, we do have staff standing in each booth, and they can explain the works through the artist's notes that I received. Also, I am there to explain the works too!

Did you receive any surprising comments from the visitors?

"This work is way too expensive"


ASYAAF is run from July 21st to August 16th.