A live drawing session led by one of the invited artists at the Urban Break Art Asia fair at COEX in Gangnam District, Seoul, last November / Courtesy of Urban Break Committee
By Park Han-sol
An official poster for the art fair Urban Break 2021 / Courtesy of Urban Break Committee
Urban Break 2021, a Korean art fair featuring contemporary urban art, will kick off next week following a successful debut last November.
The event will present works that originate from or were inspired by street and graffiti art scene through special exhibitions, performances, workshops and live drawing sessions at COEX in Gangnam from July 28 to Aug. 1.
“Urban Break is an urban art fair targeting the artistic tastes and sensibilities of millennials and Gen Z,” Daniel Jang, CEO and founder of the Urban Break Committee, said at a press conference, Monday. “We’ve designed this year’s fair to be ‘noisy and bustling,’ rather than a silent and static event.”
More than 1,200 pieces by 100 artists will be on display at uniquely designed booths that stand in contrast to typical white cubed viewing rooms. The booths will be divided into sections run by 40 urban galleries from here and abroad ― showcasing the works of Banksy, JonOne, David Hockney and Katherine Bernhardt ― and those operated by some 40 individual artists, including leading Doodle artist Jon Burgerman, Japanese creator Backside Works and actor-turned-artist Park Ki-woong.
Targeting the growing number of millennial art collectors and enthusiasts, the five-day event boasts several features that is not easily be found in other conventional art fairs.
One of its highlights comes in the form of a special exhibition called “Welcome to the Future” themed around the hottest trends in the current art world ― non-fungible tokens (NFT) and Metaverse (a shared virtual space).
In addition to displaying NFT art pieces, the event aims to introduce everything from the process of creating and minting NFT art to the unexplored potential value of the digital asset. Visitors can also experience the cyber galleries within the Metaverse through VR headsets and understand the growing influence and role of the virtual galleries in the art industry.
Installation view of the Urban Break Art Asia fair held last November / Courtesy of Urban Break Committee
Other features include the 18-meter-wide “Media Street Wall” featuring digitally reenacted street art greeting viewers as soon as they enter the exhibition space, as well as the art car project, where a classic car, a Ferrari and an electric vehicle will turn into works of graffiti art with striking visuals. A collectible items section will showcase limited-edition art toys, sneakers and streetwear.
And with climate action and animal rights issues coming to the fore among younger generations, the fair’s ESG art project will introduce upcycled works of TOOLBOY, which is a two-story-tall installation made of discarded windshield wipers and metal pipes, and the works of artist and animal rights activist Koh Sang-woo.
“The realm of urban art, which was considered a subculture or minor culture in the past, has grown to become a prominent section in mainstream culture. The purpose of Urban Break is to acknowledge and bring those artistic segments to light,” Jang said.