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“Two Great White Sharks” (2014) by Feng Mengbo. The use of the work to promote the exhibition prompted a complaint from North Korea, the collector Uli Sigg said. Credit: Feng Mengbo; Sigg Collection, Mauensee.

Feng Mengbo’s work is included in “Border Crossings: North And South Korean Art From The Sigg Collection”, an group exhibition at the Kunstmuseum Bern, curated by Kathleen Bühler. 

The exhibition allows the public a close look at the Korean Peninsula, divided since 1953. A 250-kilometre border of barbed-wire fences and anti-tank barriers divides Korea into two states which could not be more different from one another. Equally divergent is the art produced simultaneously in the two countries.

Selected works from the Sigg Collection form the starting-point of the exhibition and set visitors on a journey through Korean art from the 1970s until the 2010s. During his time as Swiss ambassador to China, Uli Sigg was also ambassador to North Korea (1995 – 1998). This gave him both a profound insight into North Korean reality and the unique opportunity to acquire works.

The exhibition features Feng Mengbo’s Two Great White Sharks (2014). Adapted from a photograph, the watercolor “Two Great White Sharks” shows North Korea’s current leader, Kim Jong-un, surrounded by military personnel and peering into a reservoir where the deadly creatures glide beneath the surface.