Mar 20 - Jun 06, 2021

Press Release

HELLO! WORLD! (你好! 世界!)

: Post Corona, what changes will it make to the Art Market?


How are you now in March 2021?

A few years ago, I gave a presentation on the future exhibitions after the 21st century at a seminar, and when it came to specifying the future at the time, I said, “Amongst the enormous amount of information pouring out through the media, numerous descriptions about the future could be summarized as 21st century being an era of diversity(多樣性), global mobility(全地球性) and convergence(融合性). Even the social system and human identity are changing under the influence of these three keywords. And as the newly coined terms such as shared economy, open innovation, open platform, and multiple intelligence, every component of our society is rapidly becoming networked. Everything in the world is already shared with each other and is becoming huge organic being changing in a quick and complicated manner. The art world will not be able to escape from this revolutionary trend of social change.”

Ironically over time, the current situation seems to be most in line with what I have announced. Corona is armed with a diverse society and global mobility and is integrated with everything to dominate us under the influence of the single keyword "COVID-19. As if to laugh at the newly coined words mentioned earlier, they are rapidly changing us to the era of "Untact." This global social change also blocked the art community from escaping the revolutionary flow of social change.


Post corona is a compound word of Post and COVID-19, which refers to a new era and circumstances to come after the Corona overcome. Corona spread around the world in December 2019, leading to the World Health Organization's declaration of Pandemic. As the number of infections surged, countries around the world enforced social distancing, such as restrictions on travel, remote classes and telecommuting around the world to prevent the spread of Corona, which was an innovative(?) change different from the previous era that Corona was born. 


As such changes due to Corona become commonplace, it is predicted that human history will be divided into before (BC, Before Corona) and after (AC, After Corona). Above all, the biggest changes in all areas of humanity, including politics, economy, society, and culture, have been made due to Corona, and most of all, the Untact culture spread as physical contact became minimized.


Changes in the concept of traditional developed countries

If the existing developed countries were evaluated only on the economic level and industrial development, passing through Corona, it is predicted that the country's ability to respond to major disasters such as infectious diseases will be the main criterion for evaluating the country's capabilities. This is because the Corona situation revealed the country's response, the level of the medical system, and the citizenship to the infectious disease crisis. Here, the developed country does not mean an advanced country based on the traditional concept, it came to mean a country that leads the international community through crisis response and social safety nets.


Deepening of Deglobalization

Developed countries, in the meantime have been moving production lines to low-wage countries to reduce costs, but during this Corona crisis, these countries faced a major crisis of shortage of supplies as they took large-scale containment measures, including entry restrictions. Therefore, many countries who became aware of the risk of dependence on overseas production are expected to reduce their dependence of major components and shift to domestic supply and demand, which will eventually lead to the trend of de-globalization. The U.S., the European Union (EU), and Japan are already introducing a "Reshoring" policy that brings core industries and companies that are highly dependent on certain countries such as China and India back home after Corona.


The Rise of Eco-friendly

Since the beginning of mankind, attacks on infectious diseases caused by bacteria and viruses have had a great impact on our lives. In particular, the frequent appearance of mutant viruses in the 21st century threatens humanity, which experts attribute to the indiscriminate destruction of the environment and the decrease in animal habitats. In other words, it is pointed out that the decline of habitats leads animals with viruses come down to where humans live to frequently contact with humans. Therefore, this Corona crisis is alarming the rampant development and environment destruction committed so far. As a result, the ‘Green New Deal’ meaning sustainable development policies centered on the environment and people is emerging. This refers to a policy that stimulates the economy and promotes employment through investment in the environment, such as responding to climate change · energy conversion. In addition, as the world has taken restrictions on movement restrictions and quarantine measures to prevent the spread of Corona, human activities have declined. Rather, the Earth’s environment has improved, drawing attention. In fact, China and India, which are the representative carbon emitters, fine dust decreased to recover the atmosphere, the term "Corona Paradox" appeared, referring to the phenomenon where fish appeared in the Italian Venetian Canal which normally was heavily polluted by numerous tourists.   


The Spread of Untact Culture

Through the implementation of social distancing due to the widespread of Corona, untact, meaning non-contact, non-face to face cultures spread in various fields such as a sudden increase in online purchasing, widespread in remote education and telecommuting, emergence of telemedicine, and recruitments of companies through video interviews. Untact is a compound word of “Contact” with “Un”, which is a negative prefix, and is a newly coined term that refers to non- face to face and non-contact methods.

The Rise of the Homeconomy (Home+Economy) Market

People worrying about Corona infections, avoiding them from going out and live mostly at home, lead to the rapid emergence of the "Homeconomy" market, which means enjoying various economic activities indoors. Homeconomy refers to various economic activities taking place in the house as the house expands beyond a residential space to a place where people enjoy relaxation, culture, and leisure. In particular, cooking, living, hobby activities, and home training appeared as a culture to endure the stuck-at-home life, and examples such as "Dalgona Coffee" and "Souple Omelet," widespread in SNS are good representatives of this change.


Acceleration of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (四次産業革命)

It is predicted that the spread of coronavirus will advance the Fourth Industrial Revolution even faster as telecommuting, video conferencing, and online classes, which have been felt only distant are becoming a reality in our lives. In fact, many global companies are starting to accelerate the Fourth Industrial Revolution by promoting smartization of the industry to overcome the economic crisis caused by Corona-19. Various technologies such as Realistic VR technology and customized learning based on AI big data etc., related to the 4th industrial revolution are being used.


Awakening to the Difference in “Untact Era” Art Market!

"Even though the artwork is expensive, isn't there no other option (except online purchase) for collectors?" said Dr. Clare McAndrew who is the founder of Arts Economics at the online talk hosted by UBS (Union Bank of Switzerland, UBS, founded in 1912) and Art Basel.


In the era of Untact, which suddenly began with Corona, the art market is looking for opportunities online. Famous galleries have already switched quickly to online galleries and global art fairs that canceled offline events released online versions. On the contrary to the concerns that expensive works will not be traded well, Hauser & Wirth, a famous gallery that participated in "Frieze New York" online in May 2020, made more than $5 million in sales on the opening day alone. The auction market online transaction is also active. Sotheby's Hong Kong held a total of 15 online auctions from April to May. There were various fields were such as modern art, watches and jewelry. 1.29 million dollars were sold through the auction, which is a 670% increase compared to the Hong Kong office launching auction in October 2018. Christie’s, one of the world’s top two auction houses also launched an online-friendly event. "ONE Global 20th Century Art Auction" linking Hong Kong, Paris, London and New York was held. Christie’s explained, "In an attempt to adapt to new realities, we organized a more comprehensive sales platform for local customers in each region and online customers around the world".


In fact, online and mobile platforms have been steadily growing. According to "Art Market 2020" published by Art Basel and UBS, the online art market in 2019 was $5.9 billion, taking up 9% of the total art market transactions. Compared to $3.1 billion in 2013, the price has nearly doubled. It can be easily predicted that the online market will grow rapidly in the future. The speed and scale however, are just difficult to estimate. Paul Donavan, Chief Economist of UBS Global Wells Management, says, "Because of Corona the structural change is ongoing in a tremendous pace.”



What’s left is post Corona.

How to adapt to changes after Corona is what to figure out through this exhibition. Post Corona art market cannot remain the same as the previous offline market. Noah Horowitz, director of Art Basel America, said, "Artwork research, payment and delivery will all be digitized, but information that can only be attained through offline meetings would be limited to digitalization."

As a person who curated this exhibition, and as we have seen so far, “The essence that lies at the core of all actions and thoughts exceeds beyond time and space despite the passing time and changing society. Then, giving concern and figuring out what the core is, I think, may be the most basic prescription to cope with the new changes in society after the Corona virus.”

李章旭(LEE Janguk)


Installation View


Media Report