2017 Venice Biennale

The Korean Pavilion: Come for the Neon, Stay for the Pepto-Bismol

A detail of the facade of the Korean Pavilion.ARTNEWS

A detail of the facade of the Korean Pavilion.


The outside of the Korean Pavilion, which is showing work by the artist Cody Choi, is covered in a neon work called Venetian Rhapsody, The Power of Bluff (2017) that beckons visitors to the Biennale by intimating that this is a hotel, with the following on services on offer: “POLE DANCE, FREE VIDEO TV, FREE NARCISSISTIC PEOPLE DISORDER, FREE PEEP SHOW, MAJOR CREDIT CARDS, FREE ORGASM.”

Sadly, none of those amenities were actually inside (none that I know of at least?) but the show of work by Choi is by turns playful and deeply political, with one work that is particularly of note, in the prime room in the back: The Thinker (1995–96), which was first shown at Deitch Projects in December 1996. It is, indeed, a version of Rodin’s The Thinker, though one done up in an iconic shade. It is unmistakably the ultra puce hue of Pepto-Bismol.

Cody Choi, The Thinker.ARTNEWS

Cody Choi, The Thinker.


One would think that Pepto-Bismol has such a distinctive color that it’s impossible to reproduce. Choi thinks so, too: The sculpture was made with 20,000 bottles of Pepto-Bismol and 2,500 rolls of toilet paper.

Speaking of toilet paper: there is a hole in the side of the box that holds The Thinker, with this photo by Choi next to it.

An untitled photo.ARTNEWS

An untitled photo.


© 2019 ARTnews Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved. ARTnews® is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.