Emerging Collectors to Watch in Asia: Kyungha Song and Julie Hongji Seok - The World News

Emerging Collectors to Watch in Asia: Kyungha Song and Julie Hongji Seok

Contemporary art

Seoul-based couple Kyungha Song and Julie Hongji Seok grew up around art, and both have degrees in architecture and art history. Their love for travel has led them to visit some 70 countries combined, all with the aim of taking in different art scenes, touching down in far-flung locales for biennials, fairs, and major museum exhibitions.

One of the earliest pieces to enter their now joint collection was a set of Josef Albers silkscreens for his famed Interaction of Color (1963), from the original edition of 2,000. “I had a huge curiosity for ‘what can be the art?’ during my studies for my master’s degree,” Song said. “The Albers [piece]caught my attention because it was not only published as a teaching method but also had a status as a collectible art object. I still think about the purpose and role of the art.”

Among the couple’s recent purchases are three paintings by André Butzer acquired over the past year. “Our collection is always in progress,” Song said. “We are always focused on expanding the collection’s quality and quantity.”

View of a bedroom with two paintings one small (right) and one large (left) hanging on two walls. They are both by the same artist and show simple drawings of girls.

The couple’s bedroom features two works by Andre Butzer. 

Photo Yousub Song

Song and Seok recently launched an artist residency in Seoul’s Hannam neighborhood, which also includes open storage for their art holdings. Part of their motivation to do this arose from their acquisition of a Peter Doig painting from the early 1980s, when the artist was only 23; it made them consider how they might offer artists support at the beginning of their careers.

Hosting five to six artists each year, the residency will “aim to connect artists from different continents through art and shorten the time difference between East and West,” Song said. “A collector is in the most efficient position to connect all other parts of the art world. We always juxtapose them and try to make meaningful connections such as between artists and collectors, artists and galleries, galleries and museums, galleries and corporations. We hope our residency program shows how collectors can help the art ecosystem.”

A version of this article appears in the 2023 ARTnews Top 200 Collectors issue.

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