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Trials of Commercial Gallery’s Alternative Spaces

: 16 bungee vs. Bartleby Bickle & Meursault

 





It is true that Korean art market has not-so-good aftermath after its legendary prosperity. But, just like history always tells us, times of agony are a necessary process to move on for further developments. In 2010, Gallery Hyundai and PKM gallery, the major galleries of Korea has opened new types of exhibitions in Sagan-dong and Ahngook-dong. Conventional gallery would not be able to take such exhibitions; conventional exhibitions were of young artists who were not well-known yet, and the exhibitions purposed to find and support the young talents. But now, let’s take our focus to Bartleby Bickle & Meursault exhibition, created by co-work of gallery 16 bungee and gallery PKM.



Kwon Hyuk_Itinerary_a view of the exhibition room in !6 bungee




First of all, gallery 16 bungee is run by Gallery Hyundai, but 16 bungee shows more experimental and progressive artists at this ‘alternative’ space. So far, Oh Yong-suk, Sunny Kim, Na Jum-soo, Jeon Chea-gang, Kwon Hyuk have been introduced there, and the gallery 16 bungee focuses on introducing and supporting artists groups that the Gallery Hyundai has not worked with so far. Gallery Hyundai has been introducing highly representative senior artists and mid-age artists of Korea, but gallery 16 bungee pursues to find young artists such as what Do Art Gallery used to pursue, meaning Gallery Hyundai is trying to cover experimental and popular artworks both. Also, most of the artists that Gallery Hyundai has shown are Korean artists, but the gallery will introduce foreign artists aggressively as well so that they can catch turning points of today’s art of the world. On the other hand, Bartleby Bickle & Meursault is rather like an office than an exhibition hall (it is like a small room). Bartleby Bickle & Meursault’s director James Lee says that the gallery works more than as a gallery or as an exhibition hall; this is a room where it works as a window. Most of their projects brochures will be produced in English so that they can introduce Korean artists to the world market, or they will bring Korean artists to biennales or many types of exhibitions, and they will host juried shows to find and support young artists.



Na Jeom Su_Depth of the Surface_a view of the exhibition room in 16 bungee






Such trials of the major galleries are interesting at two points. One is, what the alternative galleries used to do in the past is what commercial galleries are newly doing nowadays. After the world economic crisis, with nominal sponsor fund has turned alternative spaces to face practical hardships and due to the slow art market, special exhibitions and search for hidden artists are slowing down as well. The other interesting point to take our focus to is, as the Korean art market has moved forward to the world market after the great deal of Korean art market prosperities, brand new needs are found to satisfy artists, collectors and the public.

At such point, 16 bungee and Bartleby Bickle & Meursault is at the focal point if these new trials do have solutions for slowed down today’s Korean art market and if they do bring possibilities to expand today’s Korean art market. Concentrating on popularity more than conventional alternative spaces, providing more organized and practical connecting space, and accepting advanced systems to provide various connections do show positive aspects of the trials. But, artworks that are experimental and popular at the same time, they are the ones that contain two controversial concepts which is not an easy task to do so, and it is also concerned that what commercial galleries have been leading is the most commercial standards which might limit alternative artists’ creativity and today’s Korean art market’s various perspectives, and it is true that such concerns do remain.

 


Park Kyoung Rin, editor, Eyeball

 

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Posted by EYEBALL_Media Arts Webzine


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