As international observers continue to look to South Korea’s thriving art market, another major gallery will soon open an outpost in Seoul. Thaddaeus Ropac, which has locations in London, Paris, and Salzburg, Austria, will inaugurate a new location in the capital city’s Hannam-dong district in October.
“It’s with tremendous excitement that we are establishing the gallery in Seoul and a privilege to participate in and contribute to a city that has such strong and long-established foundations for artistic interchange,” Thaddaeus Ropac said in a statement. “The rich cultural history that is integral to the city is exemplified by the historic art academies, the incredible institutional infrastructure, and the tradition of nurturing each generation’s artists, and even over the short period of the past decade we’ve witnessed further exciting evolutions.”
The gallery cited “personal ties” to South Korea—including its representation of Lee Bul since 2007—as part of its reasoning to open a space there. (Lee’s work is currently the subject of a solo show at the Seoul Museum of Art.) The gallery also worked closely with the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Korea to mount a Georg Baselitz exhibition in 2007, and it has since collaborated with other museums in the country to stage exhibitions of work by gallery artists like Marcel Duchamp, Harun Farocki, and Antony Gormley.
Ropac will join a crop of international galleries that have recently been operating in Seoul, including L.A.’s Various Small Fires and König Galerie, which has spaces in Berlin and London. Pace Gallery has operated in the city since 2017 and announced last month that it would expand to a larger space, also in the Hannam-dong district. Additionally, Phillips opened a branch there in 2018, and Frieze is looking into bringing an art fair to the city.
Kyu Jin Hwang, Thaddaeus Ropac’s Asia director, will oversee the new location’s operations while splitting her time between London and Seoul. In a statement, she said, “There is such energy and enthusiastic engagement with contemporary art in the city of Seoul, to which we will be contributing a varied exhibition and events program to meet this. Our team here is growing and we are delighted to play a role in the already flourishing art scene, both the local and regional discourse, building on our existing collaborations with artists, collectors, museums, and institutions.”