The Asian Students and Young Artists Art Festival (ASYAAF), jointly organized by Chosun Ilbo and the Seoul Design Foundation, will be held at Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) Art Hall 2 from July 25 to August 20. Since its first exhibition at the old Seoul Station building in 2008, the ASYAAF has seen a notable success with around 290,000 visitors and 6,000 pieces of artwork sold over the last nine years. Celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, the festival will provide opportunities for young artists and university students to present and sell their works through its contest, which has been established as a gateway for up-and-coming artists to promote their artwork.
The ASYAAF invites a total of 550 young artists from Korea and the rest of Asia including undergraduate and graduate students and young artists under 35. During the festival, the pieces created by 450 Korean participants, 100 international participants, and 50 additional artists who will present at special exhibitions are scheduled to be displayed and sold at two rounds of exhibition. All the works on display are up for sale as the Student Art Managers (SAMs) stationed at the exhibition halls will offer explanations on art pieces and consultation on their sale to visitors. This occasion will be an excellent chance for visitors to buy a work of art at a reasonable price as well as to find pieces from a future master.
The exhibition will be open to the public from July 25 to August 6 for the first round, and from August 8 to August 20 for the second round, presenting different artists and works each round. The show will be closed every Monday. On July 25, visitors will be admitted after 1 p.m. for the opening ceremonies.
The ASYAAF has established itself as a platform where young artists are able to present and sell their works as well as a venue for them to set their vision as professional artists. The festival has been a central hub where the public, collectors, and gallery staff encounter new artists who are rarely given opportunities to present their work. Among many artists who debuted through the ASYAAF, Kim Hyun-jung and Boo Jihyun are currently actively working in the Korean art world.
Kim Hyeong-mi, a curator at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea (MMCA) and judge for 2D art for 2017 ASYAAF, noted, “Many of the works received showed deep insights on individuals’ insecurity and inner desires in the context of the current times and society.”
Artist Gwon Osang, a judge for 3D art, commented, “A large number of crafts other than sculptures were received, which was quite a unique occasion.” Highlighting the festival’s ten-year history as a ground for young artists to flourish, he added, “There is even a phrase, ‘the ASYAAF generation,’ to refer to the excellent young artists who have been introduced to the art world through the exhibition at the festival.” This year, the ASYAAF will offer a special occasion once again as it celebrates its past ten years of discovering young artists and its future for a new generation of artists.
In addition to its contributions to finding new artists, the festival has made an active effort to provide a better environment for artists to work on their projects. Since last year, the ASYAAF has collaborated with Grafolio, a platform launched by Naver to share the works of creators around the world. Information on the platform is available on the ASYAAF website. The festival expects the platform to open up a space where the audience and artists can freely communicate with each other.
A special exhibition titled 10 Years of ASYAAF will be held, comprising artworks by the previously winning artists of the ASYAAF Prize and artists who had participated in more than four rounds of the festival over the last nine years, which will substitute the previous exhibition Hidden Artists, which invited artists over age 30. This exhibition will provide visitors an opportunity to look back at the festival’s achievements over the last ten years by collecting and displaying in one place artwork produced by the artists who are now actively working in the Korean art world after being introduced at the ASYAAF.
This year’s exhibition of international artists will be larger and more special than last year’s. To discover and foster up-and-coming artists around the globe, the ASYAAF has previously invited artists from China, Japan and Taiwan in collaboration with numerous galleries and the ASEAN-Korea Centre, while this year it plans to expand the scope of the program to include artists from ten other ASEAN countries—Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam—providing a total of 100 artists from all over Asia with opportunities to share and enjoy a wide array of art.
To celebrate the tenth anniversary of the festival, a special event titled 100,000 Won Props will be held in different locations of the exhibition hall. In the event, each participating artist will produce and sell a prop for KRW 100,000, which will be a little surprise event for both the artists and the visitors. The visitors will have a chance to buy the artists’ works, with a special sticker attached, at low prices.
Kim Min-kyeong / MunhwaNews