Verbotene Bilder Banned Images

Control and Censorship in East Asian Democracies

18 April–14 June 2015
Opening: 17 April 2015

Event Series

nGbK, Oranienstraße 25


Chieh-jen Chen, Ching-Yao Chen, Sung-dam Hong, Katsuhisa Nakagaki, Sunmu, Taeko Tomiyama

Project group

Kiwan Choi, Nataly Jung-Hwa Han, Youlee Ku, Tsukasa Yajima, Jae-Hyun Yoo

In the international view, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan are considered to be democratic states governed by the rule of law, not least because they acquired this title during the Cold War. There is, however, only limited recognition of the fact that in all three countries the state does not view freedom of expression as an inalienable right and that the monitoring or censorship of critical art and repressive measures taken against awkwardly critical artists are not uncommon. The reasons for this are deep-rooted and entrenched – in Japan the failure to come to terms with the imperial past and the taboos surrounding the person of the Emperor, in South Korea the adversarial stance towards North Korea, and in Taiwan the state’s ideological rivalry with the People’s Republic of China.

The exhibition Verbotene Bilder presents works whose aesthetic ambiguities are not only a provocation to this schematic opposition in East Asian consciousness but also relativize the artistic and art-historic perception for Western eyes, which have adopted the over-simplified polarizations.
Invitations were extended to two artists from each of the three countries, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. The chosen artists all have a critical stance on the politics and taboos of their respective countries, are concerned for freedom of expression, human rights and coming to terms with the sensitive issues of the past, and do not shy away from the social and political conclusions inherent in their work.

A catalogue will be printed by the nGbK publishing house.
ISBN: 978-3-938515-58-7


Freitag 17 April 2015, 19h,
Opening and performance

with performance by Sung-dam HONG and Sunmu
Untragbare Bilder [Insupportable Images]
At the last minute, the specialist art transport company commissioned for the job refused to transport the works of Sung-dam HONG and Sunmu to Germany. During the exhibition opening, the two artists will portray this act of anticipatory obedience in an artistic performance.

Sonntag 19 April 2015, 15h,
Lecture by Hiroko SAKAMOTO

Japanische Fraueninitiative Berlin presents
Lecture by Hiroko SAKAMOTO on female cartoonists in colonial and modern Shanghai and war – from a post-colonial perspective

Mittwoch 22 April 2015, 19h,
Artist talk
with Sung-dam HONG and Taeko TOMIYAMA (German-Japanese-Korean)

Donnerstag 07 Mai 2015, 10-20h,
Werkstatt der Kulturen

Die deutsche Eiche im Yasukuni-Schrein – 70 Jahre Kriegsende und die langen Schatten der Vergangenheit in Ostasien und Europa [The German Oak in the Yasukuni Shrine – 70 years after the end of the War and the long shadows of the past in East Asia and Europe]
Werkstatt der Kulturen
Wissmannstraße 32, 12049 Berlin
The Yasukuni Shrine (“Pacifying the Nation”) is situated in Tokyo. The Shrine commemorates the fallen from the armed forces. Alongside war criminals, more than 50,000 conscripts from former colonies are honoured here – against the will of their relatives.
Official visits by members of the Japanese Government therefore cause outrage in the neighbouring countries of China, North and South Korea and Taiwan.
The conference will concern itself with this long-standing conflict, discussing, among other issues, why Germany shies away from taking a clear stance, or even makes a dubious contribution of its own in the form of gestures and gifts.
Film, talk with contemporary witnesses, lectures, panel discussion

Sonntag 17 Mai 2015, 10h,
Guided tour with Sung-dam HONG
in memory of the “Gwangju Massacre” of 18 May 1980 (Korean)

Mittwoch 20 Mai 2015, 17h,
Guided tour with Sung-dam HONG

Part of: Asien-Pazifik-Wochen Berlin

Sonntag 24 Mai 2015, 15h,
Lecture by Hiroko HAGIWARA

Japanische Fraueninitiative Berlin presents
Lecture by Hiroko HAGIWARA about the artist Taeko TOMIYAMA

Part of: Asien-Pazifik-Wochen Berlin

Samstag 30 Mai 2015, 17h,
Lecture by Vladimir Tikhonov
Freedom of Expression: Illusions and Realities (English)

Samstag 30 Mai 2015, 20h,
Reading and music
Lange Buchnacht in der Oranienstraße

Reading: Familiensaga >Land<, Bd. 1-4 von Kyongni PAK
and music by: Peter Ehwald and Ensemble ~su

Sonntag 14 Juni 2015, 18h,

The programme of events is supported by:
Werkstatt der Kulturen, Anti-Yasukuni Candle Lights Action, Berliner Missionswerk, Japanisch Deutsches Friedensforum Berlin, Japanische Fraueninitiative Berlin, Koreanische Frauengruppe in Deutschland, Solidarity of Korean People in Europe

Supported by

In cooperation with