Past Exhibition

Art Sonje Open Call #1: Lee Sung Woong, the North Korean Punk Rocker

March 17 – April 18, 2012

3F Art Sonje Center

Art Sonje Open Call #1: Lee Sung Woong, the North Korean Punk Rocker

Art Sonje Center has launched the annual initiative Art Sonje Open Call in 2011.Art Sonje Open Call provides a platform for supporting experimental and challenging curatorial projects and encouraging diverse curatorial practices. For the first call, forty three curatorial proposals were submitted and Lee Sung Woong, the North Korean Punk Rocker, curated by the AWDWs was selected by the jury, independent curator Jang Un Kim and artist Seoyoung Chung. Art Sonje Center will open its second Art Sonje Open Call from April 16 to April 22 in 2012. The selected curatorial proposal will be presented in July, 2013.

The first selected proposal Lee Sung Woong, the North Korean Punk Rocker curated by the AWDWs is held from March 17 to April 18, 2012 at the Art Sonje Center.The AWDWs are the team, consisting of Doharm Oh and Junecheol Park, musicians and concert organizers. Lee Sung Woong, the North Korean Punk Rocker that explores a fictional figure ‘Lee Sung Woong’ through performances and installations by ten South Korean rock bands.

Curator’s writing

“What if there’s a club where people play punk rock in Pyeongyang, and what if musicians regularly perform there?” These questions were broached, I guess, while we were having a wrap-up party after a show.

I was too drunk then to give an easy answer to the questions, but they remain hard to crack even now I’m pretty sober. Why? Anyways, they aren’t forgotten. Perhaps that’s why I have mentioned it to my musician friends, emailed an inquiry to a music critic, and even asked a North Korean defector about that idea. I also asked God but no answer has been given yet. Then, one day, we brought ourselves to ask, why don’t we become punk rockers in North Korea?

On the spur of the moment, I even created a name for it. Lee Sung-woong… Thought it was hugely cool. And for the first six months or so, I didn’t do anything. Even if we wanted to be punk rockers of Pyeongyang, there was no way we could go into North Korea, so we were left with just the name. Under such circumstances, I kept asking myself what it would be like if I were Lee Sung-woong, what social class would I belong to, and what stage would I perform on, etc, in the way of making a rough sketch for the whole thing.

In the meantime, musician friends got together, each shelling out a solution to the conundrum. At the main performance, ten teams of Lee Sung-woong’s will show up. Honestly, I’m a little bit worried it should be too many, but as a regular music CD has ten tracks or so on it, that could be appropriate.

I came to know a North Korean defector. Hobnobbing with him over a few drinks, we managed to configure a plan to record our songs and send them into North Korea in CDs made in the name of Lee Sung-woong. Our original plan was to send them in there early but Kim Jong Il’s death forestalled our enterprise. And we think we will send them in secretly in June when the Dooman [Tumen] River overflows to give us a relaxed security on its banks.

The band line-up list is below, but the man’s name is to be kept off limits for the time being. Dangerous. The gentleman grew up performing wind instrument in North Korea, and after he did his military service, he plied across the Dooman River selling CDs of South Korean soap operas. Perhaps he is the hero behind all this Korean Wave thing.

Like this, much of the performance has materialized in the course of the Q&A over drinks. We had been so strapped for money when we got supports from Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture and for the first time in my life, I had an exhibition in a huge gallery. There were many other types of help showering.

So, ‘Lee Sung Woong, the North Korean Punk Rocker’ planned by ‘the AWDWs’ will perform on the third floor of Art Sonje Center of Seoul from March 17 through April 15, 2012. I’m a little late introducing ourselves. ‘The AWDWs’ that have taken charge of the production of this performance are the couple of Doharm Oh and Junecheol Park. We are friends since high school. We did rock together on Band Pavlov, while we shared performance planning. Wish us Godspeed!

Responses on ‘Lee Sung-woong’ from musicians

“What, is there really a punk rocker in North Korea? You’re kidding! Huh… this is cool.”
– Kim, Se-yeong, of “Seogyo Group Sound”

“In my opinion, he died while participating in dissident activity. He was going to get shot but instead beaten to death for lack of bullets.” – Hwang, Gyeong-ha, of “No Control”

“On the morning I spruce myself up, the sun rises without fail. I wanted to do number two all through the night. It’s the first day after my birth that I spruce myself up. Birds ate chirping up in the sky, while I felt itchy all over. I’m getting this cleanup although I haven’t done a thing to honor my filial duty. Wind blows over the field. I think of my hometown. Today, I’m sprucing myself up.” – A jobless twenty-seven-year-old, of “Hoigi-dong Anthology of Short Stories”

“From where we are now, it’s like make or break.” – Choi, Tae-hyeon, of “Kuang Program”


Act 1: Birth of Lee Sung-woong, March 17 – March 26
live on 7pm, Fri, March 23, 2012
Act 2: The Glory of Lee Sung-woong, March 27 – April 5
live on 7pm, Sun, April 1, 2012
Act 3: The Fall of Lee Sung-woong, April 6 – April 15
live on 7pm, Fri, April 13, 2012

This show is composed of three acts portraying the birth, glory and fall of ‘Lee Sung Woong, the North Korean Punk Rocker’. While you watch the concerts conceived by all the participating bands, you can have a good time taking pictures and all that rocks!
Hope you won’t miss your types of performance set for specific segments of the whole time period.

March 17 – April 18, 2012
3F Art Sonje Center
Bamseom pirates, Dan pyeon son, Kuang program, Mukimukimanmansu, Nocontrol, Paryumchiakdan, Pavlov, Seokyo Group Sound, The Alligators, Yamamgata Twikster&Phal bo che
Hosted by
Art Sonje Center
Curated by