Exhibition Satirizing Korean President Removed from Government Building

An exhibition that opened last week at the National Assembly Building in Seoul was deinstalled by officials of Korea’s National Assembly Secretariat because artworks included in it spoof the newly elected president, Yoon Suk-yeol.

The exhibition “Goodbye in Seoul,” was originally scheduled to be on display for a week. It included 80 artworks, among them two satirical depictions of the politician. In one painting, the head of state is shown nude and wielding a sword hovering over a city, in a mode similar to Goya’s Colossus. In another work, Yoon is recast as a version of the main character in the 2022 film Decision to Leave. The work’s title, Decision to Embezzle, refers to Yoon’s controversial pardoning of the state’s former’s president, Lee Myung-bak, who was convicted on charges related to financial fraud.

The show was jointly organized by the Seoul branch of the Federation of Artistic and Cultural Organization of Korea and the Goodbye Exhibition Organizing Committee. The groups combined input from lawmakers and politicians associated with the Democratic Party of Korea.

The National Assembly Secretariat issued multiple notices to the organizers of the exhibition requesting permission to remove the artworks, according to a report by ArtAsiaPacific. The office said the event was not in compliance with rules around the government building’s use. The standard stipulates that events “deemed potentially violating individual rights, public morals, and social ethics,” and otherwise engaged in “slandering,” are not permitted.





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