The McLoughlin Gallery presents The Leader is Present the first solo exhibition featuring Italian artist Max Papeschi in the USA focusing on Kim Jong Un as would be interpreted by contemporary artists such as Warhol, Hirst, and Banksy. The North Korean leader is at the center of the scene in these art works as if in honor to him through their art.
The exhibition is part of the, Welcome to North Korea project, created with the support of Amnesty International Italy whereby promoting awareness and support for the crimes of the North Korean regime. Without censorship, the artist helps to inform us enabling reflection of these issues incorporating playfulness in body of work. With Welcome to North Korea, Papeschi in his self- fabricated role as Cultural Ambassador of North Korea as awarded by its Leader builds the story of a contemporary dictatorship, through a visual contradiction. The detention facilities become amusement parks and the public is taken to a parallel dimension, where the atrocities of Pyongyang’s regime are hidden by the grotesque propaganda, www.welcometonorthkorea.org.
With his expressive and irreverent style, Papeschi discredits the cult of personality, taking it to extremes with Kim Jong Un appearing between the cut of a Fontana painting or in a face off with Marina Abramovic. The propaganda of the regime is spoofed through the language of contemporary art divinizing the “Dear Leader” serving as commentary on the absurdity of the situation and atrocious news coming out of North Korea. Included in the exhibit are board games, Guess Who? – Kim of course; videos of South Park and Teletubbies with a North Korean twist and 80s video game, Kim Pong, inviting the viewers to play against Kim Jong with the inability to ever win against the Leader.
The inaugural launch of the exhibition occurred in September 2016 in Turin, next Milan with the Fondazione Maimeri followed by Paris with future exhibitions planned in San Francisco, Prague, Rome, Seville and Miami.