Photo/IllutrationSouth Korean artist Lim Minouk’s installation, “Adieu News,” is exhibited at the Aichi Triennale 2019 at the Aichi Arts Center in Nagoya’s Higashi Ward on Aug. 4 (Yoichi Kawatsu)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

NAGOYA--Two South Korean artists taking part in the Aichi Triennale have withdrawn their works in protest over the cancellation of the show on freedom of expression that opened as part of the international art festival here.

The organizing committee of the Aichi Triennale 2019: Taming Y/ Our Passion accepted their decision and closed the spaces displaying their works from Aug. 6.

Lim Minouk and Park Chan-kyong both requested permission to withdraw their works on Aug. 3, the same day the organizing committee of the Aichi Triennale decided to call off the show, “After ‘Freedom of Expression?’”

The committee cited public safety as an overriding priority behind the decision after the committee was flooded with hundreds of protest calls and e-mails, including an arson threat, over the controversial nature of some of the exhibits.

The protests mainly targeted a statue of a girl symbolizing "comfort women" who were forced to provide sex to wartime Japanese troops.

Park said in a statement posted on his closed exhibition space: “Regardless of one’s likes and dislikes toward a particular work of art, a work of art must not be censored by any type of authority, coercion or threat.”

Lim, in a statement, said an artist “cannot remain a bystander” when an act of censorship was committed.

“Artworks and art museums do not exist to serve only what one wants to see, wants to hear and wants to speak,” she added. “In a truly free democratic society, its art institutions are intended to protect the dissonance of difference in every aspect.”

Lim’s work, “Adieu news,” was themed on the funerals of two despots who ruled North Korea and South Korea: Kim Jong Il and Park Chung-hee.

Park’s entry, “Child Soldier,” evokes young warriors in North Korea.

The exhibition was intended to provide a venue for freedom of expression by assembling more than 20 items that had been removed from public display, including the statue of the girl.