Arario Gallery opens in Shanghai’s West Bund: Group’s head Ci Kim decided to not wait for conditions to improve
“I have always taken the bull by the horns,” Ci Kim, 66, chairman of Arario Group, told the Korean reporters on Wednesday at the Arario Museum in Space in central Seoul. “If you cannot make it in China, you cannot survive. So I have done something other than just waiting due to the temporary unfavorable conditions.”
This is the style of Kim, a man who wears many hats; he’s a businessman who owns and operates bus terminals and a department store in Cheonan, South Chungcheong; he is an art collector who was put on the World’s Top 100 Art Collectors 2016 list released by Artnet.com, a major global art website ; and he is an artist himself, who now presents diverse works ranging from sculptures and paintings to installations of found objects in his ninth solo exhibition titled “Play the Fool” at Arario Gallery’s Cheonan branch until Oct. 15.
The new gallery’s inaugural exhibition titled “ Voice of Asia” also started on Saturday, presenting 42 pieces of works by 22 artists from Korea, China, Japan, India, the Philippines and Indonesia.
Most of the artists in the exhibition are represented exclusively by Arario worldwide. Arario has attached importance to representing artists in exclusive contracts, which is common in the Western art scene but is not in Korea.
“Without securing and exclusively representing good artists, galleries cannot survive,” Kim said. “And artists, without good galleries to represent them, cannot survive, either.”
“Accordingly, Shanghai is important,” he continued. “Not only because it is a big market with many Asian and Western collectors visiting but also because it is a base for us to find emerging Chinese artists.”
Arario, which has a history of nearly 30 years, opened its first Chinese branch in Beijing in 2005 and relocated it to Shanghai in 2014.
BY MOON SO-YOUNG [firstname.lastname@example.org]