North Korean art has been getting a lot of attention around Asia recently. But it turns out getting your hands on a North Korean painting isn’t the same as getting your hands on a real North Korean painting. Korea Times explains:
It happened in 2000. A South Korean daily was able to reach a rare deal with North Korea to hold an exhibition of the works of the famed North Korean painter Jung Chang-mo, born in 1931. Jung himself was scheduled to show up at the opening ceremony of the exhibition in Seoul, which was made possible because the North agreed to hold family reunions of people who had been separated since the Korean War and Jung was one of the 200 North Koreans who were selected by the North’s authorities to visit South Korea.
But on Aug. 16, on the very day when Jung’s exhibition was to be unveiled, the newspaper ran a notice, cancelling the event. “The exhibition was ‘permanently postponed’ because the painter, Jung, raised questions on the authenticity of his paintings,” it said. The artworks were all from North Korea. But when Jung took a look at them the day before the display, he found out some of them were not actually his. The incident remains the most publicized case of the authenticity problem surrounding North Korean art that still remains today.
“North Korean paintings have never been free from authenticity disputes,” said Lee Jong-ha, an expert on the subject who shuttles between Seoul and Beijing. “The reason is plain and simple. There is a lack of transparency in how the paintings are made and distributed.”
Fake NK Paintings in Circulation (Korea Times)