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Unimaru: The art museum between North and South Korea where the curator wears a bulletproof vest

(CNN) — Art has at all times had the energy to be harmful. But a newly opened art museum is taking that to a different stage.

It’s Unimaru’s location that makes it unsafe. The museum rests on the DMZ, or Korean Demilitarized Zone, a no-man’s-land alongside the thirty eighth parallel which divides North and South Korea.

Its inaugural exhibition, titled “2021 DMZ Art and Peace Platform,” featured 34 artworks by 32 artists and opened in September 2021.

"Elephant Cart" is a work by Nam June Paik, the late Korean-American artist considered the founder of the video art movement.

“Elephant Cart” is a work by Nam June Paik, the late Korean-American artist thought-about the founding father of the video art motion.

Ministry of Unification

Prior to turning into a museum, Unimaru was a customs clearinghouse, where guests went by safety screening earlier than being allowed to go to the DMZ from 2003 to 2007. This was then changed by a larger workplace.

The constructing sat empty till early 2021, when structure agency MPART — who additionally designed the National Museum of Modern Contemporary Art (MMCA) in Seoul — reimagined it as Unimaru. The museum’s title is a portmanteau of two Korean phrases: “uni,” that means one, and “maru,” that means area.

Its roof was opened up in order that guests may see extra of the view and a metal facade “which represents the liminality of time and space at the DMZ,” in response to a assertion from the museum.

Due to each safety and coronavirus considerations, customer numbers are deliberately saved small.

A most of 5 tour teams per day, with not more than 30 folks per group, had been allowed when the museum was open. Now Unimaru is on hiatus because it mounts its subsequent exhibit.

People who wish to go to should apply to the South Korea Ministry of Unification (MOU) — the official authorities physique that promotes reunification of the Koreas and dialogue between the two international locations — for permission.

Once permitted, they’re secured a free ticket to Unimaru and can board considered one of the particular buses allowed to ferry civilian friends to the DMZ.

On the left, you can see Slovenian artist Marjetica Potrč's mural "What Is DMZ Soil Made Of?"

On the left, you possibly can see Slovenian artist Marjetica Potrč’s mural “What Is DMZ Soil Made Of?”

Ministry of Unification

After having their IDs checked, friends are escorted round the museum by docents and staffers from the MOU. These MOU staffers are civilians and don’t carry weapons.

All guests to the DMZ should abide by a costume code that bans miniskirts, shorts, and something with camouflage print.

They aren’t allowed to wave at anybody they could see or take footage of something with out permission, simply in case they run afoul of safety points.

Kids underneath 8 years previous are additionally barred from the DMZ, no matter their nation of origin.

In 2018, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korea’s chairman Kim Jong Un held an Inter-Korean Summit Meeting at the “Peace House” at Panmunjom on the DMZ.

Technically, the two nations are nonetheless at conflict, however at the assembly Moon and Kim agreed to maneuver towards formally ending their battle. The settlement additionally said that each international locations would take away weapons, guards and landmines from Joint Security Area (JSA).

It was the departure of guards from a few of the army watchpoints that allowed Unimaru to show art work on a repurposed former guard tower simply a mile from the border.

Yeon Shim Chung, UniMaru’s creative director, advised Artnet that she or different museum workers members put on bulletproof vests as a precaution after they go to put in items there.
The exterior of Unimaru.

The exterior of Unimaru.

Ministry of Unification

Artwork from each South Korean and worldwide artists is on show at Unimaru.

However, considered one of the most putting installations is an empty body that represents where the museum hopes to sometime show work from North Korean artists.

The JSA, or Panmunjom, might be the finest identified place alongside the DMZ due to its recognizable bright-blue convention room, which is the most-visited attraction in the space.

Former US President Bill Clinton famously mentioned that the DMZ was the “scariest place on earth” after a state go to there in 1993.

Panmunjom excursions resumed on November 30, after being suspended in July as South Korea tightened its Covid-19 restrictions.

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