Korean artist CHE Onejoon presents 3-channel video MY UTOPIA (2018) along with his installation work International Friendship: The Gifts From Africa (2017) in Berlin.
His 3-channel video My Utopia (2018) adopted a documentary theater format inspired by the story of Monica Macias, who was the daughter of the first President of Equatorial Guinea in Africa and spent 16 years in exile in Pyongyang due to a coup in the country. The actresses play Macias and people surrounding her. The people in the film expressing their curiosity of different skin colors and each other’s foreign languages. It reveals how similar individual identity issues are – including a sense of community, nationality, race, and language – in both Koreas, as well as the structural problems of the relationship between the two Koreas and their diplomacy.
Another work in the show International Friendship: The Gifts From Africa (2017-18) which borrows from North Korea’s International Friendship Exhibition in which over 224,111 presents Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-Il received from 179 countries are exhibited. Che found a catalogue of the International Friendship Exhibition in a North Korean library in Seoul but the library did not allow people to borrow or copy the book. Che broke the rules and scanned it at the library and used it as a reference point in his sculpture. The project consists of the re-edited version of North Korean propaganda film, the illegally scanned photographs, and 3-D printed objects from the photographs focus on gifts from African countries. The gifts are related to Kim Il-Sung‘s foreign policy at that time. Kim Il-sung actively participated in the non-alliance movement, fully supporting the leaders of the newly independent African countries of the 70s and 80s.

CHE Onejoon, a visual artist and filmmaker, started his career as an evidence photographer. For Texas Project, Che photographed the declining red-light district in Miari in Seoul after the government initiated the anti-prostitution law in 2004. He also made short films and archives that capture the trauma of the modern Korean history by documenting the bunkers during the post-Korean War period and the abandoned U.S. Army camps in South Korea after the Iraq War. In recent years, Che produced a documentary project about the monuments and statues made by North Korea in Africa. Starting with this project, he is currently creating a documentary theater, a film, an installation about Afro-Asian culture and identity. Che has exhibited internationally at Taipei Biennial (2008), Palais de Tokyo modules (2012), Quai Branly museum photo award finalist (2013), Venice Architecture Biennale Korean pavilion (2014), New Museum Triennial (2015),Louisiana Museum of Modern Art Afrika (2015), Busan Biennale (2018), Lubumbashi Biennale (2019) and others.

Curated by Bernhard Draz

Organized by Meinblau e.V. and NON Berlin – Asia contemporary art platform

6 September 2019, 7 pm

7 – 29 September 2019 Opening hours: Thursday – Sunday, 2 – 7 pm

Meinblau Projektraum & NON Berlin Christinenstr.18-19 10119 Berlin Prenzlauer Berg Germany

CHE Onejoon

Bernhard Draz

Meinblau e.V. and NON Berlin – Asia contemporary art platform

Bezirksamt Pankow von Berlin – Amt für Weiterbildung und Kultur – FB Kunst und Kultur, Arts Council Korea