Main exhibition view of Mina Cheon's UMMA : MASS GAMES - Motherly Love North Korea at Ethan Cohen Gallery
The presentation and the curatorial vision of the entire show sections the gallery into heavens, earth, and the underground of North Korea. The heavens include this decent or rise of the Umma figure above the legendary North Korean Baekdusan Mountain, posed in a kind of crucifix as a superhero shaman. Behind her is the waterfall of the other most mystical Keumkangsan Mountain. And the image of mass games stadium cuts through the gallery space in serious contrast and architecturally perpendicular to the Umma.
From the assumed wondrous nature of North Korea to the most mechanical man’s presentation of Arirang, the ground level includes the Happy Land Games, leading into stairs of the underground world where the game playing at a different level, displaying the 10 notel players that loop the videos of contemporary art history lessons being sent into North Korea.
Also displayed throughout the show are Umma’s dream paintings since she can only think about unification, revolution, and abstraction in her dreams. But the paintings are also piled up like game boards rather than strictly hanging on walls.