The exhibition’s main piece is entitled No Motherland Without You which consists of 192 hand-painted sheets of paper covering the gallery’s rear 15-meter-long wall. Most sheets are monochromes, while a few consist of two or three fields of contrasting colours. Together they form a pixelated and monumental abstract painting. No Motherland Without You is a reproduction of a fragment of one of the gigantic mosaic pictures created by more than 30,000 North Korean school children during the Arirang Mass Games. Held at the May Day Stadium, each child holds up coloured cards according to a strict, meticulously rehearsed choreography.
By showcasing only fragments of the immense original picture, the figuration is lost; however new details are revealed. One notices the papers’ texture and imperfections. Each ‘pixel’ acquires its individuality. Each of the 30,000 individuals participating in the mass performance are intimately inferred.
The titles are clues to the background story of the apparently formal artworks. As the last truly secluded place in the world, North Korea is seen by many as a nation-sized cult that generates both fear and fascination. Taking it as a point of departure for refLection upon the notions of authorship and originality, the artist is highlighting the manner in which a craft based production, expressed through individual dedication, comes to speak about the ideology of another more dominant individual: the beloved Dear Leader.