North Korea Notes

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An image I took this summer looking across to North Korea from Paju

North Korea is mentioned on occasion in this space. Below is yet another collection of links about the country.

David Guttenfelder is the only western photographer allowed to take photos of North Korea. In this short video he discusses that experience.

“I was born a [North Korean] Unicorn.”

An essay by Kim Jong Il’s former cook. He traveled all over the world to satisfy Kim Jong Il’s decadent cravings. In the end, he used one of those trips to escape.

An article about North Koreans in Japan. A friend of mine, Kim Insook, has an ongoing photography project about the subject.

Art Asia Pacific’s succinct article about what it means to be an artist north of the DMZ.

If you’re on the Korean peninsula next September you should check out the DMZ Korean International Documentary Film Festival. September 17-24, 2014 in Paju and Goyang.

North Korea and Choco pies, one of our favorite convenience store desserts when we’re in South Korea.

Apex Art’s exhibition from 2012, A Postcard from Afar: North Korea From a Distance curated by Mark Feary.

Korean (Artist Made) Craniums

Dongwook Lee’s Vitamin from 2003 via Doosan Gallery

From the press release of his solo exhibition Love Me Sweet at Arario Gallery, “As figure who represents the Korean new wave sculptors early in the new millennium, Lee has contrasted perfect beauty to the violent, uncanny situations that lurk beneath through elaborate and realistic sculptures made of a material called Sculpie. The composition of his works, perfectly modeled and exposed under precise containment, reflect Lee’s tendency to push himself to the very boundaries of controllability.” via Art Forum

Mioon’s Lead Me to Your Door from 2011 via Neolook

Mioon is a collaborative between Min Kim and Moon Choi. I first saw their work in the Korean Eye Catalogue which states of the artists, “In their reading of today’s cultural landscape they reveal the fictional and ideological mechanisms that pervade underneath the surface of things in various forms.”

Hyungkoo Lee’s Face Trace 003 from 2012 via AKIVE

Part of Gallery Skape’s press release for Face Trace, “The artist captures his own various facial expressions and intentionally fragments into several parts. By reassembling them according to the studies of physiognomy, he composes totally different figures. Face Trace is created by overlapping skull structures of several human races and different parts of artist’s multiple facial expressions. This process follows the method of facial reconstruction used in forensic science.” via Art Agenda

Patchwork Skins


Sylvie Blocher’s video “A More Perfect Day” inspired by President Barack Obama’s speech “A More Perfect Union” at Artsonje Center’s exhibition A More Perfect Day.


Lisa Jeannin‘s Me Tarzan You Insane (still), 2013. Video via e-flux at the Turku Biennial

1402 SEOK-DONG by Kyoung eun Kang

Last year I met Kyoung eun Kang in New York through my friend Gyun Hur. This Friday, June 21, she has a solo exhibition opening from 7-10 p.m. at Primetime in Brooklyn, NY. Kang uses a variety of media to explore herself and her family as they exist on opposite sides of the globe. Despite the distance, Kang explores  that space through the materials and memories that keep the family linked.

1402 seok-dong Kyoung eun Kang

Image courtesy of Kyoung eun Kang.

In the announcement for the exhibition she explains, “1402 Seok-doing is the Korean address where my family moved in 2 years ago while I was living in New York City. Through this exhibition, I try to imagine their life in their new home. I explore and reconnect family relationships inspired by family’s jokes, care packages sent by my mother, and hidden family stories. The works include a series of poems inspired by recordings of family conversations. A video shows family members recalling my uncle who disappeared at the age of 23. Family jokes are turned into photos and a sculpture made with ceramic radishes and sneaker shoes.”

Opening Reception: June 21, 7-10 p.m.

Closing Reception: July 5, 7-10 p.m.

Kyoung eun Kang’s Website

Sunday Morning Coffee (A Smorgasbord)

Meret Oppenheim, Luncheon in Fur (Object), 1936

I was recently reminded of the wonderful Surrealist object above. The MOMA‘s gallery text about the object gives a nice overview. Just sit for ten seconds and think about using it, you can probably guess most of the gallery text from there.

Have you seen this wonderful 17 minute documentary about our President? “The Road We’ve Travelled” directed by Davis Guggenheim.

In “North Korea in Contrast” the New York Times blog Lens posted an article last week about David Guttenfelder, accordingly to the article he is the only person from the West who has been allowed to photograph North Korea. The images focus on the capital of North Korea, Pyongyang.

For those of you working on a thesis or dissertation, I wanted to share what I use to relax after a long day of writing and researching–Lisa Eldrigde online make-up tutorials. I realized last night this might be my version of watching Bob Ross.

Making Chinatown by Ming Wong

Ming Wong, Making China Town, 2011

I learned about Ming Wong from e-flux.  This is what e-flux had to say.

Find Ming Wong’s website by clicking here.

Read about his work on REDCAT‘s website.

My initial attraction to the work was purely visual but after reading a bit about it my interest grew,

“Working through the visual styles and tropes of such iconic film directors as Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Wong Kar-wai and Ingmar Bergman, Wong’s practice considers the means through which subjectivity and geographic location are constructed by motion pictures.” -REDCAT

“Wong’s reinterpretation, Making Chinatown, transforms the exhibition space into a studio backlot and examines the original film’s constructions of language, performance and identity.” -e-flux

Christine Sun Kim

An idea I roll around in mind on a regular basis is the sensual experience of art.  Most art, but surely not all of it, is visual–for our eyes only.  Once the product is finished and in a space for public view we rarely have the ability to access the touch, smell, taste, or sound.  We look.  This morning I was reminded of this.  Zane Davis sent me a link to Christine Sun Kim’s short video, a Selby Film.  I highly recommend watching it.  The film takes a few steps through Kim’s life, shows her performance experiments with sound, and gives excerpts of Kim talking about her experience with sound and language in general.

Click here to view the video.

In the film Kim says, “Let’s listen with our eyes, not just our ears.”

KoreAm is an interesting link I found on Kim’s website–the Korean American Experience.

Also, she occupies wall street with signs as sound.