Thaddaeus Ropac Is Opening in Seoul This Fall as Western Galleries Increasingly Expand Their Footprints in South Korea

The South Korean capital is fast becoming a new center for the art market in Asia.

Fort Hill in Seoul where Thaddaeus Ropac is located. Courtesy Thaddaeus Ropac.

Thaddaeus Ropac has announced that it will be opening a new gallery in Seoul this fall. It will be the dealer’s first space in Asia.

“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,” Ropac said in a statement.

The gallery’s first show in Seoul will open in early fall, but Ropac, whose roster includes the leading South Korean artist Lee Bul, is keeping details of the inaugural show under wraps for the moment.

The new gallery will be sited in the city’s Hannam-dong district, an arts hub with nearby attractions including the National Museum of Korea, the Leeum Musuem of Art, and Amorepacific Museum of Art. It will be located on the first floor of the Juhwan Park-designed Fort Hill building, one of the city’s architectural landmarks, which overlooks a charming sunken garden.

The move comes as Seoul has been generating buzz as an increasingly attractive center for the art market in Asia. Ropac’s expansion comes as a growing number of major galleries and institutions consider moving their activities in Asia outside of Hong Kong. Pace Gallery recently announced it would be opening its second space in Seoul, also in Hannam-dong, this June, and Frieze had also been exploring fair options in the city.

Ropac has been active in the Seoul scene since 2007, and some of its artists, including Georg Baselitz, Alex Katz, and Antony Gormley have exhibited at the city’s premier institutions. Currently, Lee Bul has a solo exhibition at the Seoul Museum of Art.

“There is such energy and enthusiastic engagement with contemporary art in the city of Seoul,” the gallery’s Asia director, Kyu Jin Hwang, said in a statement. “Our team here is growing and we are delighted to play a role in the already flourishing art scene.” The director will split her time between Seoul and London. 

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