Border Crossings North and South Korean Art

Kunst Museum Bern 30.04.2021 – 05.09.2021
The title of the new exhibition, “Border Crossings”, reflects the fact that the Korean border is a prohibited zone for Korean citizens from both sides. Crossing this border means making a long detour, usually via China – or, in this case, via Bern.
The exhibition allows the public a close look at the Korean Peninsula, divided since 1953. A 250-kilometre border of barbed-wire fences and anti-tank barriers divides Korea into two states which could not be more different from one another. Equally divergent is the art produced simultaneously in the two countries.
What makes the Korean situation special from an art-historical perspective is the concurrent existence of the vital contemporary art scene in South Korea and an undiminished cultivation of the tradition of socialist-realist painting in North Korea. Diametrically opposed artistic attitudes are able to coexist, reflecting the irreconcilability of the political systems and striking differences in the two populations‘ way of life.