North Korean Dream Sequence Project 2, Dip and Drip International Klein Blue
Mina Cheon aka Kim Il Soon
North Korean Dream Sequence Project 2
Dip and Drip Painting Series in International Klein Blue 01-18, 2017
Acrylic on canvas, 36 x 24 x 1 inches each
As one of the last remaining hermit kingdoms of communism, North Korea has relentlessly remained socialist amidst a global overturn towards late-capitalism, and stands out with its greatest cultural paradox of vulnerability and threat. Mina Cheon, who is a South Korean artist working with a North Korean art persona named “Kim Il Soon,” campaigns for global awareness, North Korean lives matter, with her political pop and protest art she calls “polipop,” short for political pop art. Her new North Korean Dream Sequence Project showcases the unimaginable possibilities intersecting art, society, and politics, by painting things only possible in dreams to achieve North Korean liberation, freedom, and Korean unification.
While Kim Il Soon’s past paintings were done in North Korean social realist style, the new paintings are brazen in hot pink and in this particular series, in Klein International Blue. With swath of abstract expressionism overlaying realism, only in her dreams can Kim Il Soon truly paint freely and in abstraction, since the dictatorship and communist North Korea mandates art to be restrictive and done in a singular propaganda style. The Yves Klein International Blue as the pinnacle color of modern art, finds a new stage in the dream works of this North Korean artist, making transnational connections for dialog, global peace, and unity, through truthful arts related to life.
As a symbolic activity of Korean unification, the Klein blue is splashed, dipped, dripped on top of colorfully painted images of “Happy Land” themed Styrofoam punch-out paper toys found in Choco·Pie boxes, which are smuggled into North Korea from the South. As an extended theme by the artist, this “Choco-Pie Propaganda” takes the South Korean manufactured Choco-Pie confectionary that is vastly loved in North Korea, for its communication and exchange possibilities, hoping to heal the rift between the countries. These 18 vibrant paintings to be seen on both the front and back sides of the canvas, deliberately intermix Western abstraction with social realism, pop art and politics. Happy Land therefore, signifies the complexities of North Korea and its global presentation, our cultural bias and capitalist notion of happiness found in consumerism culture, and the question of global welfare tied to Korean unification.