A THREAT TO THE NATIONAL SECURITY OF KOREA
31 August 2008, OZ541 Seoul - Frankfurt
The adventure is over. I'm eating my last in-flight bibimba while I'm watching Kung Fu Panda. I'll miss the great team Raúl had formed of the artists who traveled to Yeosu: Erika, Ferrán, Jin Suk, Matt, Sari, Soyeon, Tom, Warren and Wojtek. Installing the show was probably even more chaotic than in June in Saint Petersburg. One of the highlights was the Korean artist who came just the day before the opening and moved his paintings that were already hanging on the wall. He almost punched Raúl and his wife assaulted Matt.
I did my slogan on the wall and the press got furious about it on the opening day. People were yelling but I didn't understand too much about it. Also the infamous National Intelligence Service of Korea got involved and opened a case about my work. Raúl is responsible as the curator and he must give a literal explination about it. We were planning another show in Seoul but I think that they don't let me anymore enter to South Korea. Maybe I could show next time in Pyongyang but in all likelihood the North Korean authorities wouldn't let me escape after my provocation.
29 August 2008, Yeosu
I painted on the wall a huge pig playing baseball. In this time frame I couldn't do anything in color but I think that the simple black dripping outlines look impressive, too. Then I started to write We love Samsung and Kim Il-sung but after the first letter Il-Kwon stopped me and begged me to change the slogan. The city authorities - hosting the Yeosu International Art Festival - had heard of my plans and were scared. It's forbidden to praise Kim Il-sung in South Korea and the Samsung conglomerate has more power than the government. I stopped but said that if my work is censured, I go home, take all my work with me, and tell to all the world what happened. The hierarchial aministration demanded the decision from the highest level and after waiting all day, the liberal mayor of Yeosu phoned and gave green light to my provocative work. The city hosts the 2012 Expo and doesn't want to look conservative, I suppose. For the dinner, we had again a raw molluscs feast and drank lots of soju to the Korean democracy. I'm just beginning to miss potatoes, bread, tomatoes, cheese and red wine.
27 August 2008, Yeosu
We’ve been touring temples and other sites around Yeosu during two days. The hosting is amazing but I hope that we can begin to prepare the Garden of Delights exhibition soon. It seems that the Koreans, the City of Yeosu and our host Il-Kwon are so proud of their country that giving us a good overview of it is even more important than doing a good show. Sari told me that in some big exhibition at Kiasma, the museum of contemporary art in Helsinki, the artists were taken to Saint Petersburg, Russia! Only we the Finns can be so negatively unpatriotic. And I'm sure that Kiasma hosted the dinners in an Italian restaurant. Here in Yeosu we eat only kimchi and raw seafood that beautiful waitresses insert into our mouths with metal chopsticks (this service is not avalialabe for the female artists).
22 August 2008, Helsinki
My wife got fed up with the rain and the flu in Finland. Yesterday morning, she flew back to Spain. Some people pay for going to vacations and she paid for escaping from the vacation. I took her to the airport and moved to Jani's studio. The problem is that Jani doesn't have a washing machine nor iron but Reeta promised that I can go to her place to clean my clothes before flying on Sunday to Yeosu via Frankfurt and Seoul. I found out that Sari got the same flights - she participates in the Garden of Delights exhibition too - and it's nice to travel with a friend. Sari said that she has never been to Asia and is feeling a bit uneasy about it. I promised to be her guide or guardian angel though I've never been to Korea. I said that she should practice now with chopsticks because the metal ones they use in Korea don't hold food easily and require advanced skills of the user.
I DON'T WANT ONE DREAM
19 August 2008, Helsinki
I've been isolated for a while in my grandparents summer cottage by the lake Päijänne in the central Finland. It was raining cats and dogs all the time - normal August in this country - but I loved to sit in the sauna and watch the stars and the lake. I had no internet connection and I didn't charge my mobile phone when the battery died, Only one thing from the outer world I couldn't escape, my grandmother was watching all the day the Beijing Olympic Games. I don't want to be politically correct and criticize the lack of the human rights in the Peoples' Republic of China but I don't get the the official slogan One world, one dream. What happened with the pluralism, multi-culturalism? Sure they don't exist in China but they would make a better selling motto.
THE NORTHBOUND SOUND
06 August 2008, Cervera de los Montes
Our land, our land, our fatherland
Sound loud, O name of worth
No mount that meets the heaven's band
No hidden vale, no wavewashed strand
Is loved, as is our native North
Our own forefathers' earth
Thy blossom, in the bud laid low
Yet ripened shall upspring
See! From our love once more shall grow
Thy light, thy joy, thy hope, thy glow
And clearer yet one day shall ring
The song our land shall sing
In the morning, we take a flight to the fatherland.
SING SANG SUNG BASEBALL RHYMES
02 August 2008, Cervera de los Montes
Finally, my work in Yeosu, Korea, will be the basic set: A baseball playing pig painted on the wall with the slogan We Love Samsung and Kim Il-sung and, of course, 25 drawings about fast food and blitzkrieg.
Samsung is South Korea's largest company and the world's second largest conglomerate by revenue, leading several industries in the world. The core of the company is formed by electronics, shipbuilding and construction.
Kim Il-sung was the leader of North Korea from its founding in early 1948 until his death in 1994. He established a personality cult of the Great Leader” and switched from the Marxist-Leninist ideology to his self-developed Juche idea.
Baseball is originally a U.S sport and it was introduced to Korea in the late nineteenth century by the missionary P. Gillett. South Korea hosted the Baseball World Cup in 1982 and won the tournament. The Korean Baseball Organization, country's professional baseball league started in the same year. The teams of the KBO are generally named after the business conglomerates which owns them. One of the most succesful teams is Samsung Lionsa based in Daegu.
If the installation were somewhere else than in Korea, Samsung could be changed to any super conglomerate and Kim Jong-Il to any omnipotent leader but I really love the sung sung rhyme.