30 September 2008, Cervera de los Montes
I have devised a program that will pass a lot of $100 bills through your hands. The movement of money creates wealth. Don't sleep on this one! I've tried many things, spent my valuable time researching easy opportunities to earn cash fast, Team up with me and join the perpetual cash generating system!
The secret is that you have to surround yourself with the people who have the lifestyle you want to achieve. Indulge and saturate yourself with the rich people and their lifestyle. It's called The Law of Attraction. This will give you immediate cash, lots of $100 bills, over and over, every day all day.
26 September 2008, Cervera de los Montes
Some people speak about the end of the capitalism. I wish it was true but it sounds bullshit. My first innocent thought was that the brokers and economists don’t understand more about the economy than I do (almost nothing) but I believe that this is a perfectly planned conspiracy of the companies and the governments of the Free World. They want people to be afraid of the unemployment and the fall of the standard of living. Scared people are easier to control and they accept any laws limiting the freedom.
Personally, I don’t care if money escapes from the stock market to the art market - this is what some analysts say. I sell almost nothing in the years of fat cows and the same almost nothing in the years of lean cows. And Damien Hirst's cows in formaldehyde sell every year. Undoubtedly, the crises and catastrophes are excellent material for my work. I couldn’t do art in a happy world.
VERTICAL GLOBALIZATION AND PLASTIC BAGS
22 September 2008, Cervera de los Montes
Ana said that it's hard to place my work in Cervera de los Montes, a village with less than 500 inhabitants in the backwoods. She had imagined me living in New York City.
I don't pretend to speak about New York or other over celebrated centers of the last century. I try to make visible the status quo - the world where the Carrefour plastic shopping bags decorate the shoulders of roads from Sao Paolo to Jakarta and from Pudong New Area to Cervera de los Montes. The globalization is also vertical, the brands, the migrations and the new world order are changing the way of life even in our village.
Of course, the plastic bags don't fly in Pudong, a district of Shanghai, because the People's Republic of China prohibited giving out free plastic bags and the entire production and use of ultra thing 0.025 millimeters thick plastic bags. I hope that Europe can learn something from China too and not only export there democracy, human rights and hypermarket chains.
DOMINANCE HIERARCHY IN A MUSEUM
18 September 2008, Cervera de los Montes
Pirkko, who just started her job as curator at Kiasma, e-mailed me and asked kindly if I would do a wall painting to accompany my drawings - they have seven of them – in the next collection display of the museum in March. I was tough and negotiated to loan them more drawings for the show – a wall painting deserves to have more than seven – but in fact, I just wanted to open a bottle of champagne and celebrate that for the first time in my career I'm going to show in a decent museum.
Kiasma inaugurated ten years ago when I was studying in the Academy of Fine Arts. I started to work there as a guide when it was still under construction. Now Pirkko wants me to fly over to see the spaces. I was almost going to say her that it’s not necessary, because I know that building better than my home. I’ve toured there thousands of people hundreds of times. That’s why it’s so important to me to exhibit there. When I worked there as a guide, some curators didn’t even bother to say hello to me. Now I’m going back as an art star. But I try to be humble - nobody likes divas.
GHOSTS OF THE WAR
17 September 2008, Cervera de los Montes
Julia has a Korean student who gave her a briefing of the Korean media. All what has happened is a huge crossword puzzle in a an incomprehensible language and I try to construct the image little by little.
Korean war veterans were against the show. They hate communists and Kim Il-sung. They thought that Riiko supports him. They want people to hate Kim Il-sung. 20 years no talk about. Most people think that soldiers are stupid. They say "Stop all that, we live in a democracy, the war is over. Let him do his work." Korean artists support Riiko.
15 September 2008, Cervera de los Montes
Maybe I should move on but I’m still thinking what happened in Korea. I just remembered one significant detail. When I was painting the wall, the representatives of the City of Yeosu got annoyed not only for Kim Il-sung but equally for Samsung. I think actually they weren’t afraid of the anti-communist patriot citizens, the police, the National Intelligence Service or the National Security Law but Samsung, the conglomerate that has more power than the government.
Samsung and other family-controlled conglomerates are called in South Korea chaebol. They are government-assisted corporate groups, and have played a major role in the South Korean economy since the 1960s. The government has tried to encourage competition among the chaebol in certain areas to avoid total monopolies. Naturally, the role of chaebol is extended to the political arena.
That’s the free world. Maybe the North Koreans (have to) have a portrait of Kim Il-sung on the wall but I’ve got Samsung’s television and mobile phone.
DISTANCE FROM THE FORWARD EDGE OF BATTLE AREA
11 September 2008, Cervera de los Montes
No news from Korea. Raúl has been busy co-curating the Media_City Biennale in Seoul, the opening is today. Maybe the press is still interested in Kim Il-sung and me. Soyeon wrote me from Seoul “Don't worry everything is going well. I am sure that a lot of people like your work. You should have a big show in Korea. You are a big star here.”
I’m going to take that seriously and I begin to prepare drawings for the big exhibition that doesn’t exist yet. I bought some super cute and violent snack foods in Yeosu and one of the stars of the show could me Hogugy – the mascot of the South Korean Army. I´m drawing bibimbab (mixed rice) bombs and kimchi (fermented vegetables) cannons. It’s awesome to be back in the studio – my rear headquarters located in some distance from the front line - after vacations and traveling.
09 September 2008, Cervera de los Montes
Yesterday I drove to Madrid for two reasons. The first, was more improvised but resulted maybe to be the most important. I went to Reina Sofia Museum to see the new collection display of Pablo Picasso's Guernica. Picasso said that "art is not made to decorate rooms. It is an offensive weapon in the defense against the enemy."
The second reason was a meeting with four foreign curators. Manuela and Thibaut have organized a short residency for these curators to meet some Madrid-based artists. I barely have any contact with the Spanish art world and I was flattered to be invited. What I didn't like was the power structure. I was told only the first names of the curators and nothing about them: where they are from, where they work... Without a dialog I felt like an animal in a circus. I have nothing against curators but I want to work with them as a team, without stupid hierarchies. And if a curator can choose the artists, the artist should also choose his curators.
UNFOLDING THE CONTENTS
08 September 2008, Cervera de los Montes
Last week, before my work was printed in all Korean newspapers, Il-kwon asked me to write a text explaining the contents of the work - this text would have been attached on the wall next to my work. I sent the text to Raúl but I don't know what happened to it.
My work We Love Samsung and Kim-Il Sung is not about Koreans but more about myself, a foreigner who knows only few things about Korea.
Undoubtedly, those two names are the best known things of the country divided by the last border of the cold war. The first is South Korea's largest company and the world's second largest conglomerate by revenue leading several industries in the world. The latter was North Korea’s “Great Leader” who established an extensive personality cult. Both are perfect examples of branding.
Anything from political parties via popcorn to plasma screens can be branded, marketed, imported and exported. Even the politicians don’t see any difference in working for people, political parties or companies. For example, Gerhard Schröder was the chanchellor of Germany and Paavo Lipponen was the prime minister of Finland - now both of them work for the Russian Gazprom, the largest extractor of natural gas in the world, Samsung’s counterpart.
In the Garden of Delights exhibition both Kim Il-sung and Samsung represent utopias: A communist dream that turned out to be a famine and a global neoliberalist dream come true that might turn out to a distopia, too.
If the installation were somewhere else than in Korea, Samsung could be changed to any super conglomerate and Kim Il-sung to any omnipotent leader but I really loved the sung sung rhyme.
06 September 2008, Cervera de los Montes
Finally, I received news from Raúl. He writes that he let them cover Kim Il-sung’s name on the wall with one of my drawings. I’m not happy that my installation is changed but I trust in Raúl consideration, he understands the situation better than I do. He says that we take one step back and then twos steps forward and that everybody in the Seoul art world is supporting us comparing my work with Andy Warhol’s Mao, Komar and Melamid’s Stalin and Maurizio Cattelan’s Hitler. In the Gwangju Biennale opening the TV interviewed two people: Okwui Enwezor about the biennale he has curated and Raúl about my work.
This afternoon, I found a picture of my crippled installation in a Korean blog. It's censored ridiculously. They changed the place of my kimchi drawing to cover the word Il of Kim Il-sung.
RIGHT TIME, WRONG PLACE
05 September 2008, Cervera de los Montes
The Spanish summer heat is already gone but I'm sitting in the patio - still wearing Hotel Bellagio's bathrobe - and sipping a gin and tonic. But I shouldn't be here. Now it's my 15 minutes of fame and it happens to be in Korea.
I've heard nothing from Raúl nor Il-Kwon in the last two days but finally Erika skyped me when she was back in Seoul from the Gwangju Biennale opening - where, as she told, everybody was newspapers with big pictures of my controversial We Love Samsung and Kim Il-Sung installation.
Erika told that there are a public protest against my work in Yeosu, and the gallery is receiving over 50 phone calls every day demanding the authorities to censor my work. It's all fine, or even fantastic, but she also said that Il-kwon might lose his job in the University. And that would be my responsibility to him, his wife and two daughters.
HEADLINES IN KOREA
04 September 2008, Cervera de los Montes
It seems that my work is a headline in all South Korean newspapers and internet portals. Most of them have used the information and pictures from the Associated Pres. I collected some headlines and fragments automatically translated by Google.
Kim Il-sung mural controversy, the conclusion can not be punished.
(...) breeds controversy but the National Security Law sang punishment was impossible determine.
Yeosu official said that the mural contains the transfer of the pro-communist(...).
Controversy is rising.
But it is difficult to determine that the penalties apply to the National Security Law.
(...) stabilize the country's existence is recognized, because they are not unintentionally jeopardize the National Security Law can not be punished a starting point.
The problem is that some people work for the visitors praise North was abandoned, while he strongly protested.
National Security Law requirements are meant to punish.
Not even a simple list of achievements of Kim Il-sung as a work of art should be evaluated.
National Intelligence Service and Inspector hold (...) the problem was framed (...) to take measures (...).
Words Yeosu police staition, National Security Law, jeopardizing the safety or free democratic basic order.
(...) representation is going into a fight.
(...) some social groups are strongly opposed and protested (...).
And somebody defends me, too:
Art is art, the art itself to be interpreted as a possesion to do it shall be respected.
This must be Il-kwon, our host, proffesor at the Chonnam National University. In another newspaper he says:
Is truly a work of art, notice that you want to express a level of cultural awareness missed it.
LOVE LETTERS TO DICTATORS
04 September 2008, Cervera de los Montes
I got an e-mail feedback from somebody in Korea: Kim Il-sung was Stalin of North Korea. He killed millions of Koreans during the Korean War. He made many people's lives miserable. A Life like death isn't a life. Did you ever think about it? You hurt many people's heart. When you mentioned him, it's like admiring Hitler to Europeans.
What can I say? Once again the huge misunderstanding to think that if I write on the wall I love Hitler, I'm a Nazi. Or I'm a homosexual. Why art is seen as a direct manifestation of the artist's opinions? My art is definitely autobiographical. I just try to make visible the world that surrounds me.
Now the city of Yeosu wants to put next to my installation an explanation about its contents. So it seems that they are not going to censor it finally. No scandal - and I'm slightly disappointed.
Later, I got a call from a Korean radio station, they wanted me explain the work briefly. It was almost impossible while my daughter was yelling and wanted to speak to the journalist, too.
03 September 2008, Cervera de los Montes
I woke up very early for the jet lag but I like to see the sunrise and do my things when my wife and daughter are sleeping. I’m wearing Hotel Bellagio’s bathrobe I stole in and my mind and my body are still partly in Yeosu. I got some news from Raúl about the mess with my work. Il-kwon e-mailed him today that the trouble with the authorities continues. This is what Raúl replied to him:
Try to get them to censor the work, to take it out down, or paint over the text that says Kim Il Sung. We can use this for publicity, and draw attention to Riiko and the show. Say, if you do not like the art piece with the text, take it down; it's a chess game, and we are better players. Do this very tactically; let them think that they are only censoring Riiko's work, then I'll come down and pull the whole show. We can one-up all the biennials in Korea right now with this move, I have friends in Korean press and they are just looking for something like this to happen. That is why I have not sent anythin in defense of Riiko's work. Sure I could write a nice lengthy explanation, but antagonize them and have them censor. Now that the show has been documented with pictures, and we are not there, tell them the curator said if if the work bothers you, fuck you. Plus being co-curator of Media_City Seoul Biennial that opens one week form tomorrow, I'll be swamped with interviews; then I will defend Riiko's work.