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ASIA NOW (open October 18-22) continues its selective and boutique status for its third edition, with just 30 galleries participating. Newcomers this year include Yavuz Gallery from Singapore, PiFO Gallery from Beijing, Gallery SoSo from Gyeonggi-do, and Gallery Su from Seoul, alongside Galerie Liusa Wang and Anne de Villepoix, both from Paris, among others. Director Alexandra Fain tells us about a special focus on Korea this year and the types of collectors ASIA NOW attracts.
WHITEWALLER: What are the advantages of keeping ASIA NOW at a boutique art fair level in size?
ALEXANDRA FAIN: The fair strives to present the established talents of today as well as the rising stars of tomorrow. Preserving the freshness and passion and resisting the pressures of globalization and standardization; showing the unexpected, the nonconsensual; surprising, inspiring, at the risk of sometimes disorienting the visitor.
WW: ASIA NOW is set in private Parisian mansion. What do you see as the benefit of that kind of setting?
AF: The first edition of ASIA NOW was held at the Espace Pierre Cardin. Last year, we wished to open up the fair to more exhibitors while welcoming them in an intimate setting. We wanted to develop the concept of “boutique art fair.” Maintaining a human-size format, which facilitates encounters and discussions between exhibitors, artists, and collectors.
WW: This year, the fair features a new focus on the South Korean art scene. Why did you want to emphasize South Korean galleries?
AF: That special program is coordinated by Korean curator Joanne Kim, in collaboration with the Busan Biennale curatorial team. And we are delighted to host a special project conceived by the curatorial team of the Busan Biennale. We hope that these projects will offer visitors a better understanding of this scene, of the artists’ personal approaches to art, but also of the sociocultural context in which they operate.
In particular, the project “an/other avant-garde” retraces the Korean avant-garde from the 1960s to the 1980s, through the works and installations of Jooyoung Kim, a pioneer of the “Nomadism” concept as a form of artistic activism and leading figure of the movement. For ASIA NOW 2017, Jooyoung Kim, who from the 1970s onward found herself at the cutting edge of contemporary art in South Korea, being both a woman and a performance artist, will present her most recent works, in keeping with her artistic approach.
WW: How would you describe the collector profile of visitors to ASIA NOW?
AF: Firstly, Asian collectors who collect both Eastern and Western artworks yet have the feeling that ASIA NOW is a smaller platform offering only the best of various Asian scenes. Asian collectors visiting the fair are aged from 25 to 45; they own top collections and some of them private museums. Secondly, there are European collectors in their fifties collecting Asian art already and extensively—heads of top collections and foundations. They’re looking for emerging great artists or new works by established ones. They already collect established artists and are more interested in new discoveries. Thirdly, ASIA NOW attracts European collectors aged from 30 to 60 starting to consider Asian artists for their repertoire to diversify their collections. They are either looking for classics like Korean Minimalist artists, the Chinese contemporary art scene, or the Philippine scene. They want to be guided in a selection of some of the best artists of this generation in Asia, either rising stars or already established.
For more on what’s happening around the fairs in Paris this week, pick up the 2017 Whitewaller London and Paris edition, out now.