China shuts down exhibition by North Korean satirist

IF THE CHINESE GOVERNMENT WONDERS why its own people find its modern cultural output stultifying, then maybe it shouldn’t stultify quite so much:

A North Korean defector known for his satirical paintings on North Korean society was forbidden from holding a rare exhibition in Beijing on Sunday, with Chinese police officials removing his artwork shortly before the exhibition began.

The painter from North Korea with the pseudonym Sun Mu, who fled the North in 1998 and resettled in South Korea in 2001, has been called a “faceless” artist as he does not allow himself to be photographed out of fears that his family left behind could suffer retribution. [Yonhap]

This man must be brave to go to a country that’s swarming with regime agents, assassins, and abduction squads. The good news story here is that North Koreans are emerging as a cultural force in their own right. That will eventually make them a serious cultural threat to the regime.

3 Comments

  1. Our art: Anything goes, and none of it matters.
    Their art: Nothing goes, and so all of it matters.




    0



    0
  2. That’s a very interesting and keen observation. Do repressive societies really produce the best art, or does it just seem that way? Most of my favorite music was composed when Stalin was in power. Some of it was written shortly before the Zhdanov Decree.




    0



    0
  3. This AFP article suggests Sun Mu wasn’t actually present (“Previews quoted the organisers as saying the artist would not be able to attend his own opening because of the risk that his true identity might be revealed.”). The reporter spoke to Sun Mu but doesn’t explicitly say where he was, only that he’s “based in Seoul.”




    0



    0